Incentivized Altruism

Only one in ten Israeli adults is an organ donor and the country is addressing the situation with an innovative new policy. Organ donors and their close relatives will now receive priority if they require a transplant. Jacob Lavee of the Sheba Medical Center said the new policy “provides an incentive for individuals to agree to help each other.” The policy will be widely publicized and will take effect in January 2011. (HT: Marginal Revolution) [%comments]

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  1. Jonathan Baird says:

    Shouldn’t one religiously opposed to donating organs also be religiously opposed to receiving them? This shouldn’t harm them in any way. If your religious system prevents you from donating but not receiving… tough, get a better religion.

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  2. Kevin H says:

    Sounds pretty good. I’m not sure exactly how the law is handled, but hopefully there’s a lag time, so you need to be on the donor list for 2 years or something before you get the benefits to prevent people from signing up the day they learn the need an organ.

    My friend came up with a related idea (half in jest, as is his M.O.) that we should make everyone sign something today stating if they believe in stem cell research, and then give future stem cell based treatments only to those who support it now.

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  3. Another David says:

    I would support this in any country other than Israel. But the fact of the matter is that Judaism forbids organ transplant (I decided to register as a donor anyway). I don’t think that the Jewish homeland should be offering incentives to those who break the laws that bind the people together. It would be like subsidizing non-kosher food.

    Imagine if in the US non-Christians were given a free pass at drunk driving check points on Christmas…

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  4. Avi says:

    #5 and #8 – the donor status comes in when there is a tie in other considerations, that is, the possible recipients have about the same need, distance, age, etc. That works for me.

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  5. Neil (SM) says:

    #5 >> “…some conditions make it impossible to donate one’s organs.”

    But those conditions don’t prevent someone from being *listed* as an Organ Donor. When that person actually dies, it’s up to someone else to disqualify them.

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  6. Neil (SM) says:

    #11 If someone’s religion forbids organ transplant, than what does he care if he doesn’t get first priority to receive an organ transplant?

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  7. Zach says:

    I complete agree with this law, however I feel that it does not go far enough. If I were the law-maker for our country, I would say that anybody who refuses to be an organ donor is completely prohibited from receiving any kind of transplant.

    I completely understand #7’s comment, and he is basically explaining why there should be these kinds of laws in place. Not donating an organ might cause somebody slight displeasure (the thought of knowing that their body will be ripped open the second they die), but cause somebody else extreme good (living longer). However, because the stupid hippies in Congress don’t want to do what is necessary, they let the ones who choose to exercise their right to refuse their organs profit, while they laugh at those who are the Good Samaritans.

    Personally, I’m an organ donor. Mainly because I see it is minimal harm to myself that could help somebody else out. I would just hate for myself or a loved one to be passed over for somebody who is not moving along the process.

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  8. David Chowes, New York City says:

    Given my perception of human nature we usually care only
    about ourselves. Then family and close friends and in quickly decending order the remainder of people.

    So, this seems to me to be a pragmatic solution which has the potential to save lives.

    A viable argument against this idea is that transplant volunteers would be disproportionatly consist of the poor and desparate.

    My conclusion: even with my reservation, my response is yes!

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