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Many economists believe that there would be large benefits to allowing a free market in organs. People are bom with two kidneys, but they usually need only one. Meanwhile, a few people suffer from illnesses that leave them without any working kidney IX-spite the obvious gains from trade, the current situation is direr The typical patient has to wait several years for a kidney transplant, and every year thousands of people die because a kidney cannot be found. If those needing a kidney were allowed to buy one from those who have two, the price would rise to balance supply and demand. Sellers would be better off with the extra cash in their pockets. Buyers would be better off with the organ they need to save their lives. The shortage of kidneys would disappear.

Such a market would lead to an effkknt alknration of resources, but critics of this plan worry about fairness. A market for organs, they argue, would benefit the rich at the expense of the poor because organs would then be allocated to those most willing and able to pay. But you can also quest km the fairness of the current system. Now, most of us walk around with an extra organ that we don't really need, while some of our fellow citizens are dying to gel one. Is that fair? •

QUICK QUIZ D-aw the supply ard demand lor tur«ey. In the equilibrium, show producer and consume' su'plus. Explain why producing more turiceys would lowor total surplus.

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