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Social Theory and Practice


published on January 30, 2018

Vida Panitch, L. Chad Horne

Commodification, Inequality, and Kidney Markets

People tend to be repulsed by the idea of cash markets in kidneys, but support the trading of kidneys through paired exchanges or chains. We reject anti-commodification accounts of this reaction and offer an egalitarian one. We argue that the morally significant difference between cash markets and kidney chains is that the former allow the wealthy greater access to kidneys, while the latter do not. The only problem with kidney chains is that they do not go far enough in addressing equality concerns, and we show how the introduction of cash payments by the state could remedy this.

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