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That adults should be allowed to sell their kidneys


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The system I propose would allow adults to sell their kidneys. This does not prohibit government involvement (i.e. by buying kidneys and giving them to the poor for free.) This particular debate pertains only to kidneys, though I think there should be a similar system for other organs as well.

Round 1
Thanks to my opponent for agreeing to participate in this debate.

The current kidney shortage

According to the National Kidney Foundation, 13 people die every day waiting for a kidney transplant [1]. In the United States, it's illegal to sell human organs [2]. Price ceilings tend to result in shortages [3]. Since people are only allowed to donate organs, a price ceiling of $0, the quantity of organs demanded exceeds the quantity supplied. In Iran, the government compensates organ donors, and as such, there is no shortage of kidneys [4]. Implementing a system like this in the United States and other countries could effectively eliminate the kidney shortage and save thousands of people every year.

Killing vs. Saving

In a free-market economy, individuals are free to buy and sell at will. If the government allows people to buy and sell food, they can hardly be credited with saving people. Instead, if the government restricted buying and selling of food, causing a famine, they would be killing people. In this case, the government is killing thousands of people a year by refusing to let them buy and sell kidneys even without government intervention. While the government buying kidneys and giving them to those that need them would be the best system, restricting anyone from selling kidneys at all, even independently, is morally indefensible. Therefore, any objections to my proposed system must justify killing thousands of people every year.

Is allowing organ trades immoral?

One common objection to this system is that allowing people to sell organs is wrong because the poor would be incentivized to do so. But to justify killing thousands of people a year, my opponent must establish why this is wrong. Firefighters are blue-collar workers who are paid to risk their lives (and kidneys) to save others. But hiring the poor to be firefighters is allowed because people would die without them. In the past, fire departments were private [5]. While a public fire department is the best system, banning private fire departments and refusing to establish public fire departments would be extremely immoral. The government would be responsible for thousands of deaths.

Who should pay?

Personally, I think that the government should compensate kidney donors. One study estimates that such a system in the United States would save thousands of lives—and even save taxpayers $12 billion a year [6].

I look forward to my opponent's response.
I find it fascinating to bring up Iran, would Pro encourage us to embrace the Iranian model of society and way of living?

The reality is that what this does is make the poor desperate to hurt their bodies for cash and the dilemma is that more than most high earners, the poor working class need their bodies for their jobs much more often than the other classes of society do.

I am a Progressive in this debate (and in real life but that's irrelevant) and support society moving to a stage where it is all done by voluntary donations. The fact is if you allow sales of organs, the poor will begin to deblitate themselves drastically for the income.

There are more poor people than the rest of society (just logic, but I'll encourage my opponent to prove otherwise) income brackets aren't a bell curve but much closer to a pyramid (you don't hear top and bottom minorities, you hear top 1% vs the 99% well out of the 99% the truly poor and desperate are, if combined with the almost as poor as that, the most populated class perhaps the middle rival them but very 'lower middle' and 'upper working class' is a grey area that i say counts as poor enough almost.

What is it we are really talking about here? Who is going to pick up the slack when these people who donated the kidneys, themselves have kidney issues? Do you think they'll afford the treatment then? If it's a socialistic healthcare system, the drain will be to the national economy which already will be drained as the government is buying the organs in the first place...

As for the 'free market' idea that's quite absurd if it's a government-buys-all system. At least we can say that it protects people from predatory advertising and hunting of the most desperate to sell but still... What exactly is the endgame here?
Round 2
I find it fascinating to bring up Iran, would Pro encourage us to embrace the Iranian model of society and way of living?
Only their system for effectively eliminating the kidney shortage. Take the good and leave the bad.

Kidney complications

Most studies indicate that you can live a healthy life with one kidney [1]. Furthermore, dying from kidney failure is worse than having minimal long-term effects. If a poor person wants to sell their kidney, why shouldn't they be allowed to? Con argues that income inequality exists, but income inequality will still exist if my system isn't adopted.

Con's argument relies on a "Mother knows best" system of governance. Poor people should be allowed to decide if they want to sell their kidneys, and preventing this voluntary exchange is effectively killing thousands of people a year. We pay poor people to be firefighters, to grow food, to join the army, and to be police officers because these are all necessary. (Con has not addressed this point.) For people dying of kidney failure, kidneys are also necessary.

My opponent can bring up income inequality all he wants, but banning kidney transactions doesn't solve the problem. In fact the other problem remains completely unaddressed—voluntary donations don't solve the kidney shortage. Society relies on capitalism and markets to resolve shortages.

Government losing money

The government system is my preferred method for solving this problem, but not the sole subject of this debate (whether adults should be allowed to sell their kidneys at all.) Again, the government would save money under the kidney system I propose. It turns out that treatments for someone dying of kidney failure are very expensive [2]. Because less people will have kidney problems, the government saves money.
Poor people, are the most desperate to make money from selling organs and the ones society will either neglect to perish when they have further issues due to it or that society will need to fund the most in a socialised healthcare system.

These people eat the cheapest food available, really used their bodies hard at their jobs quite often and push their bodies to the limit.

Kindly show studies exploring this income bracket specifically. Thank you for your consideration.
Round 3
Poor people, are the most desperate to make money from selling organs
If they'd rather have the cash immediately than an organ, that's their choice to make. We should be encouraging them to donate or sell organs as it prevents the recipient from dying of organ failure.

The study I linked to estimates that overall, the government will save $12 million under the new system [1]. People with small kidney complications are less expensive to care for than those who die of kidney failure. And with the new system, people who did sell their organs could always get one if complications occurred. Con must argue that the increased costs of the system due to a small number of kidney complications will exceed $12 million dollars.

Again, no one is being forced to sell their kidney. Suppose there's someone named Jim who really does want to sell his kidney and someone named Bob who needs one. This undoubtedly occurs many times over as evidenced by Iran. By banning the free trade of organs, the government is effectively killing Bob. Maybe there's someone who would make the poor decision to sell an organ and regret it later. But that's due to their own choice. It's not up to the government to trade Bob's life in order to spare some people from their own decisions.

Again, we pay firefighters, soldiers, construction workers, etc. to risk their lives. Many of these people are poor. Ideally, we could solve poverty without forcing poor people to work, but under the current system, allowing the sale of kidneys benefits both parties.
Round 4
Extend argument.
The system Pro is proposing is one where those most desperate for money donate actual bodily organs to those most capable of spending it.

This is fundamentally immoral in a capitalistic society and fundamentally impractical in a socialistic one as it would increase the issues for the donators later in life (which would be working class people with heavily manual labour jobs).

People in very physical, poor-paying lines of work already have lower life expectancy, this would amplify the divide.

Men who work as labourers or in other physically demanding roles have a greater risk of dying early than those with more sedentary jobs, researchers say.
The finding, from scientists in the Netherlands, reveals an apparent “physical activity paradox” where exercise can be harmful at work but beneficial to health when performed in leisure time.

Pieter Coenen, a public health researcher at VU University medical centre in Amsterdam, said the reason for the disparity is unclear, but he believes it may reflect the different types of exercise people get at work compared with those in their free time.

“While we know leisure-time physical activity is good for you, we found that occupational physical activity has an 18% increased risk of early mortality for men,” Coenen said. “These men are dying earlier than those who are not physically active in their occupation.”

Other researchers say the finding may simply reflect a greater likelihood for people in manual labouring jobs to have unhealthier lifestyles in which diet, smoking and alcohol consumption all conspire to reduce life expectancy.

But Coenen believes other factors are at play. “If you go out for a run for half an hour in your leisure time,” he said, “that increases your heart rate and you feel well afterwards, but when you are physically active at work, it’s a very different type of activity. You are working for eight hours a day and have limited rest periods. You are lifting, doing repetitive movements, and manual handling.

“Our hypothesis is that these kinds of activities actually strain your cardiovascular system rather than help you to improve the fitness of your cardiovascular system.”
International public health guidelines encourage people to spend half an hour a day on moderate to intense physical activity to keep healthy, but previous research has shown that those who work in construction and other physically demanding jobs are the least likely to exercise in their leisure time. “They are in double trouble,” said Coenen. “They don’t benefit from the good aspects of leisure-time activity, and they are exposed to the risk of occupational physical activity.”

Physically demanding jobs are linked to shorter working lives, more sick leave and unemployment than jobs that don’t rely on muscle and brawn, suggests a large long term study of Danish workers in hundreds of different types of jobs, and published online in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.
The findings have implications for plans by various European governments to increase statutory retirement age, say the researchers.
Amid longer lifespans and falling birth rates in much of Europe, the expectation is that people will have to work longer before they can retire. In Denmark, the statutory retirement age is set to rise from 65.5 in 2019 to 72 by 2050.

But healthy life expectancy isn’t necessarily increasing at the same rate as life expectancy, particularly among the more disadvantaged in society, nor do these reforms take account of the impact of ageing on muscle strength, say the researchers.

To try and gauge the toll a physically demanding job might take on the ability to work, the researchers looked at the working life expectancy of 1.6 million Danes between the ages of 18 and 65 who had a job as of November 2013.

Working life expectancy captures the number of years a person at a given age is expected to work until retirement from the labour market.

The level of physical demand required for each person’s job was measured by the job exposure matrix, or JEM for short. This covers 317 different types of occupation.
The JEM score was categorised as low physical demands (below 16); moderate (16-28); and high (28+).

Jobs scoring highly included those in construction; manual labour, such as carpentry, masonry, painting and plumbing; cleaning; and manufacturing industries. 
Periods of sick leave, unemployment, and disability pension payments were recorded for each participant for the next four years until 2017.
The final analysis is based on workers aged 30, 40, and 50. It showed that more men than women were categorised as having very physically demanding jobs according to the JEM score. 

Men in this group were, on average, nearly 3 years younger than their peers in physically undemanding jobs. Women, on the other hand, were around 10 months older. 
For both sexes, a physically demanding job was strongly associated with shorter working life expectancy, and more sick leave and unemployment compared with a physically undemanding job.

At the age of 30, working life would be expected to last almost 32 years for men with physically demanding jobs and nearly 34 years for men with physically undemanding jobs.
Among women, the equivalent figures were just over 29.5 years and nearly 33 years, respectively.

In all, a 30 year old woman would be expected to have 3 fewer years of working life; 11 more months of sick leave; and 16 more months of unemployment, the analysis showed. The equivalent figures for a man would be 2 years; and 12 and 8 months, respectively.

The researchers point out that there are likely to be other factors in the ability to work, which were not accounted for in this analysis, including lifestyle factors, such as obesity and smoking, as well as long term conditions. 

But they nevertheless conclude: “This study showed that high physical work demands are a marked risk factor for a shortened expected working life and increased years of sickness absence and unemployment.” 

They add: “The findings highlight the urgency of addressing problems related to physical work demands with regard to, for example, an increasing statutory retirement age.”