Stossel: Market forces would ensure high quality of human organs, just as they do hot dogs
On Fox News' Your World, ABC anchor John Stossel advocated the legal sale of organs, citing the fact that "hot dogs don't spoil when we get to them" as evidence that "the market figures out ways to make these things work."
Claiming that "we have no shortages of anything else that faces the open market," ABC News 20/20 co-anchor John Stossel, on the July 13 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto, advocated the legal sale of organs. Responding to Cavuto's concerns that some organs "might not be safe," Stossel cited the fact that "hot dogs don't spoil when we get to them" as evidence that "the market figures out ways to make these things work." Despite Stossel's earlier assertion that "I have two [kidneys]; I only need one," he was noncommittal when Cavuto asked: "Would you give me a kidney if I needed one?" Stossel said he "would consider" it. Even when Cavuto suggested the offer would be high, Stossel responded: "I don't know, we'll have to talk later."
Wrapping up the segment, Cavuto refused Stossel's request to "say the title" of Stossel's book, Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity (Hyperion, May 2006), because "we've been showing it [on screen] five times, for God's sake."
From the July 13 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
CAVUTO: So you're saying, that if we open this up, so it's a free market in you know -- organs, we'd have a lot of organs?
STOSSEL: Sure, we have a lot of -- we have no shortages of anything else that faces the open market. And right now 17 people die every day waiting for a kidney. I have two; I only need one. Shouldn't somebody be allowed to offer me 10, 20, or 100 thousand dollars? It actually happens all the time -- the dirty little secret.
CAVUTO: You don't think that, let's say a couple's fighting, John, right? And there is your wife next to you lying in bed, you're thinking, you know, I hack her up, I'm going to take all the organs on the open market, and it's a field day.
STOSSEL: Well, there are laws against murder.
CAVUTO: Yes, there are.
STOSSEL: But by the logic of your fear, you can outlaw almost anything.
STOSSEL: Alcohol leads to some terrible things, cars kill people, we shouldn't let people drive. Murder is illegal.
CAVUTO: But how would you -- yeah, OK, good, we got that covered, John doesn't believe in murder. Would there be a limit to this, though, or risk to this? In other words, would you be getting organs that might not be safe, that might, might have a whole lot of problems? Or those who are suffering from AIDS, and you're getting an AIDS contaminated --
STOSSEL: But the market takes care of these things all over the place. We don't get hot dogs --
CAVUTO: You love the markets. It's what you believe from --
STOSSEL: I do.
CAVUTO: You're a libertarian.
STOSSEL: It took me too long, but also, a consumer reporter who was hostile to markets, until I saw, wow, you know, the hot dogs don't spoil when we get to them. You know, there's all these greedy people selling them, the meat could be bad. But the market figures out ways to make these things work.
STOSSEL: Why is it OK to donate, OK to give --
STOSSEL: -- all kinds of motives in giving -- but as soon as money's involved, it's evil?
STOSSEL: I mean, the transplant surgeons are making money, the banks that ship the stuff around, the doctors are making money, but only the donor can't?
CAVUTO: All right, well, John, would you give me a kidney if I needed one?
STOSSEL: I would consider --
CAVUTO: For a high price. [laughing]
STOSSEL: I don't know, we'll have to talk later.
CAVUTO: John Stossel, thank you very much. You can catch him on ABC, his book is in the bookstores now. It's at airports, you see him with the shovel. It's ridiculous -- this guy's everywhere.
STOSSEL: You gonna say the title?
CAVUTO: No, I'm not, because we've been showing it five times, for God's sake.