Volume 31, Issue 2, Fall 2017
On Coercive Offers
In Support of a Market in Kidneys
A prominent argument against a market in kidneys is the Argument from Coercion (AfC). AfC claims that a market would violate the autonomy of typical suppliers by presenting them with coercive offers. Engaging with Cherry’s response to AfC, this paper argues that while a consistent AfC could be constructed, it would still fail to justify a prohibition of a market. AfC, as fully formulated, only holds if we assume that the state is obligated to provide for the basic needs of its citizens. Once such a state functions ideally, a market ceases to involve coercion, thus making a prohibition redundant. In fact, such a state’s obligation to care for its citizens supports a market in kidneys. On the other hand, if the state is dysfunctional, then while a market could involve coercive offers, a prohibition would not restore, and would present a further constraint on, individual autonomy.