Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Lure of Decriminalization

When people talk about the dangers of the black market, and the benefits that come from decriminalization, they are usually talking about drugs. Make drugs legal, they say, and most of the societal ills (and prison overcrowding) that come from the black market will go away almost overnight. This may be true. Particularly with low-impact drugs such as marijuana, this is an enticing idea. Today, on the Volokh Conspiracy blog, Ilya Somin trots out an even more extreme idea for decriminalization... creating a legal market in organs. Make it so that somebody who needs, say, an extra $10,000, can offer to sell a kidney on Craigslist. Somebody who needs a kidney can find one, pay the up-front cost, and get a new lease on life. I'm having a hard time finding the problem in his idea. I'm sure it's there, and I'm hoping one of you can point it out to me. It sure is a fascinating thought... Mark