In my last post on profit that I wrote, I said that, “When you outlaw the profit motive, you outlaw one of the very things that makes us human…you further outlaw the source of social cooperation.”
The reality of this debate is very clearly seen in the issue of bone marrow donation (and, by extension, organ donation). Currently, there is a widespread shortage of bone marrow donors. This means that there are many people who are dangerously ill and in need of a bone marrow transplant.
However, many of them cannot get one because the government and the medical community stand by an age-old tradition that says people should only donate out of altruism, without any desire for self-gain.
And in the meantime, many of those sick people die.
My question is, all self-righteous pining from the medical community aside: why haven’t we legalized profit for the provision of bone marrow sooner? The answer of the one doctor in the middle of this video is telling: he doesn’t want to compensate people for bone marrow donation because it would encourage “the wrong motivations,” namely self-gain.
Let’s not allow people to profit from selling clothes or food. Let’s just hope that all of the people that profit from selling things that we would literally die without will make such goods for us out of the goodness of their heart. After all, it’s immoral to make a profit selling things that people absolutely need, like clothing and food.
This is one of the reasons why I wrote a blog post about the moral goodness and humanity inherent within the idea of profit. If you deem a good desirable, you don’t outlaw people’s ability to make money off of it. In the case of the markets for bone marrow and organs, relying on benevolence does not save lives.
It actually kills them.