Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Price Controls Work!

"Amid a severe kidney-donor shortage, an idea long considered anathema in the medical community is gaining new currency: payments for people willing to give up a kidney. ... 'There's one clear argument for sales', [Arthur] Matas told a gathering of surgeons earlier this year. The practice, currently illegal in the U.S.. 'would increase the supply of kidneys, save lives and improve the quality of life for those with end-stage renal disease.' ... 'Payments eventually result in the exploitation of the individual', says [Francis] Delmonico [a Harvard professor]. The federal ban on organ sales dates back to 1983. ... Since then, the gap between demand and supply has widened. ... Today the waiting list has grown more than fivefold, to nearly 75,000 patients. ... About 4,400 people died [in 2006] before they could get [a kidney]", WSJ, 13 November.

As the prophet Milton Friedman said, "We economists don't know much, but we do know two things: If you want more of something subsidize it, if you want less of something, penalize it". Did anyone in Congress ever read Forty Centuries of Wage and Price Controls, 1979, by Robert Schuettinger and Eamon Butler? What did these self-righteous fools think would happen? Of course, no one would accuse Congress of killing 4,400 people last year. Why not? Does Delmonico think his Harvard salary exploits him? Did Delmonico ever talk to George Borjas, a Harvard economics professor?

No comments: