Skip to main content

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated Cookie policy, Privacy policy and Terms & Conditions

d1c2b10046f86fa80bf36304_jk798.jpg

Kidneys for Sale?

The arrest in New York last month of Levy-Izhak Rosenbaum, a Brooklyn businessman whom police allege tried to broker a deal to buy a kidney, coincided with the passage of a law in Singapore that some say will open the way for organ trading there. Would legalizing the market for human body parts exploit the poor, or should the poor be free to choose?

PRINCETON – The arrest in New York last month of Levy-Izhak Rosenbaum, a Brooklyn businessman whom police allege tried to broker a deal to buy a kidney for $160,000, coincided with the passage of a law in Singapore that some say will open the way for organ trading there.

Last year, Singapore retail magnate Tang Wee Sung was sentenced to one day in jail for agreeing to buy a kidney illegally. He subsequently received a kidney from the body of an executed murderer – which, though legal, is arguably more ethically dubious than buying a kidney, since it creates an incentive for convicting and executing those accused of capital crimes.

Now Singapore has legalized payments to organ donors. Officially, these payments are only for reimbursement of costs; payment of an amount that is an “undue inducement” remains prohibited. But what constitutes an “undue inducement” is left vague.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

https://prosyn.org/97stSdB;
  1. leonard52_Frank Augstein - WPA PoolGetty Images_borisjohnsonthumbsup Frank Augstein/WPA/Pool/Getty Images

    The End of the EU’s Brexit Bounce

    Mark Leonard

    After years of watching the United Kingdom muddle through a political crisis while enjoying an unprecedented level of unity among themselves, Europeans now must prepare for darker days. Negotiations over the future UK-EU relationship will inevitably divide Europeans and offer fodder to Euroskeptics.

    1

Edit Newsletter Preferences