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International Journal of Applied Philosophy

Volume 31, Issue 2, Fall 2017

Julian J. Koplin
Pages 137-148

Consequences and Kidneys

Kidney for Sale by Owner discusses a range of different arguments that can be offered in defence of live donor kidney markets. Although Cherry’s case for establishing such markets does not rest on consequentialist considerations, Cherry nonetheless suggests that allowing the sale of organs would have net positive consequences. He argues that both renal failure patients and people living in poverty could benefit from participating in the market, and further claims that a legal trade in organs would not shape society in harmful ways. This paper argues that the likely consequences of establishing an open market in kidneys are less benign than Cherry suggests. Specifically, I argue that a live donor kidney market could plausibly harm sellers, give rise to harmful pressures to participate in the market, and reinforce unjust political and social structures. I conclude by considering the implications of these arguments for the organ market debate.

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