Visceral Politics


Amity Shlaes has some thoughts on the political meaning of former Reason editor Virginia Postrel's volunteering a kidney to her friend Sally Satel, a prominent critic of politicized medicine.

[W]as this a policy kidney? In a certain sense, yes. As a fan of biotechnology, Virginia recalls, she didn't have the "visceral" reaction that others might have to giving an organ. (Yes, she used that word). She looked up the risks of the donation and found that "we do lots of riskier things every day."
Virginia's husband Steve even came up with his own elegant little market solution to the fatal organ shortage. Citizens who give an organ get a holiday from federal taxes for a year. High earners pay lots of tax, and low earners pay next to none. As Postrel points out, the holiday idea is therefore less vulnerable to the usual criticism that organ dealing exploits the poor.
"It was not as Virginia, the libertarian, but Virginia, the friend, that I was giving" Postrel says. "People who believe in markets do all sorts of non-market transactions."