Saturday, February 20, 2010

Books about markets for body parts (for and against)

Below are a mix of books, some scholarly some popular, mostly harvested by clicking on the Amazon links "people who bought this book also bought," from one book to the next. The descriptions are from Amazon:

Body Shopping: Converting Body Parts to Profit by Donna Dickenson
Product Description
According to law, you don't actually own your own body, and you might be shocked by the cunning ways everyone from researchers and entrepreneurs to doctors, insurers, and governments are using that fact to their advantage. Thanks to developments in biotechnology and medicine, cells, tissues, and organs are now viewed as both a valuable source of information and as the raw material for new commercial products.This 'currency of the future' might be fueling the new biotechnology industry, but the former owners of that flesh and bone aren't entitled to one fraction of the proceeds. In "Body Shopping", award-winning writer Donna Dickenson makes a case against the newfound rights of businesses to harvest body parts and gain exclusive profit from the resulting products and processes. To illustrate her case, she presents a series of compelling stories of individuals injured or abused by the increasingly rapacious biotechnology industry. Some cases have become public scandals, such as the illicit selling of the late broadcaster Alastair Cooke's bones by a body parts ring involving surgeons and undertakers.Others are hardly known at all, including the way in which for-profit umbilical cord blood banks target pregnant women with offers of a 'service' that professional obstetrics bodies view as dangerous, the leukemia patient who tried and failed to claim property rights in a $3 billion cell line created from his tissue, and the real risks facing women who provide eggs for the global market in baby-making. "Body Shopping" offers a fresh, international, and completely up-to-date take on the evolving legal position, the historical long view, and the latest biomedical research - an approach that goes beyond a mere recital of horror stories to suggest a range of new strategies to bring the biotechnology industry to heel. The result is a gripping, powerful book that is essential reading for everyone from parents to philosophers, and from scientists to lawmakers - everyone who believes that no human should ever be reduced to the sum of their body parts.

Black Markets: The Supply and Demand of Body Parts by Michele Goodwin, 2006
From Publishers Weekly
Law professor and bioethicist Goodwin sheds much needed light in this disturbing examination of yet another failure of the American health care system: an organ donation process that leads to the sale of human organs. Despite some highly technical sections, the author artfully uses case law and tragic stories of people caught in the machinery of an organ marketplace that favors the well connected. Even readers well versed in current events are likely to be shocked by the prevalence of "presumed consent" legislation in 28 states that shifts the choice to donate away from potential donors —corneas, for instance, are routinely harvested by local coroners unless a specific prior refusal has been communicated (and sometimes even despite such a directive). The author does a good job of linking this country's history of medical scandals that victimized African-Americans to that community's misgivings about serving as either donors or seekers of a spot on the coveted transplant waiting lists. Her controversial recommendations, which include lifting the taboo on selling cadaveric organs to address the organ deficit, should spark much discussion. (Mar.)

Tissue Economies: Blood, Organs, and Cell Lines in Late Capitalism (Science and Cultural Theory) ~ Catherine Waldby (Author), Robert Mitchell (Author)
Product Description
As new medical technologies are developed, more and more human tissues—such as skin, bones, heart valves, embryos, and stem cell lines—are stored and distributed for therapeutic and research purposes. The accelerating circulation of human tissue fragments raises profound social and ethical concerns related to who donates or sells bodily tissue, who receives it, and who profits—or does not—from the transaction. Catherine Waldby and Robert Mitchell survey the rapidly expanding economies of exchange in human tissue, explaining the complex questions raised and suggesting likely developments. Comparing contemporary tissue economies in the United Kingdom and United States, they explore and complicate the distinction that has dominated practice and policy for several decades: the distinction between tissue as a gift to be exchanged in a transaction separate from the commercial market and tissue as a commodity to be traded for profit.
Waldby and Mitchell pull together a prodigious amount of research—involving policy reports and scientific papers, operating manuals, legal decisions, interviews, journalism, and Congressional testimony—to offer a series of case studies based on particular forms of tissue exchange. They examine the effect of threats of contamination—from HIV and other pathogens—on blood banks’ understandings of the gift/commodity relationship; the growth of autologous economies, in which individuals bank their tissues for their own use; the creation of the United Kingdom’s Stem Cell bank, which facilitates the donation of embryos for stem cell development; and the legal and financial repercussions of designating some tissues “hospital waste.” They also consider the impact of different models of biotechnology patents on tissue economies and the relationship between experimental therapies to regenerate damaged or degenerated tissues and calls for a legal, for-profit market in organs. Ultimately, Waldby and Mitchell conclude that scientific technologies, the globalization of tissue exchange, and recent anthropological, sociological, and legal thinking have blurred any strict line separating donations from the incursion of market values into tissue economies.

Body Brokers: Inside America's Underground Trade in Human Remains (Paperback)~ Annie Cheney 2006
From Booklist
*Starred Review* Here's one with the potential to keep folks up nights, wondering whether the urn on the mantel contains 100-percent Uncle Fred or a blend. Before journalist Cheney began an assignment for My Generation magazine, she had never suspected there might be diverse career opportunities for cadavers, that whatever one wants to be when one grows up, options continue to exist postmortem. But consider the ever-popular organ donor program. And then there's the option of donating one's body to a medical school for the betterment of mankind through science. Once that latter choice is made, Cheney learned, alternatives multiply, and a corpse can follow one of several roads. On a lower thoroughfare, big bucks are waiting for the cold-blooded entrepreneur ready to carve human bodies up like chickens and parcel them out to the highest bidder for such uses as military bomb test dummies, lifelike operative subjects for medical seminars, and resource troves for the machine-tooling of bones into orthopedic apparatus. Even if one never willingly donates one's body, there are enough unscrupulous morticians and morgue workers who will surreptitiously carve out an ulna or a femur and replace it with a PVC pipe, then sell the goods on the not-so-open open market. This is a chilling expose of the grisly industry of body trading. Donna ChavezCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Kidney for Sale by Owner: Human Organs, Transplantation, and the Market )~ Mark J Cherry, 2005
Product Description
Over the past decade in the United States, nearly 6,000 people a year have died waiting for organ transplants. In 2003 alone, only 20,000 out of the 83,000 waiting for transplants received them - in anyone's eyes, a tragedy. Many of these deaths could have been prevented, and many more lives saved, were it not for the almost universal moral hand wringing over the concept of selling human organs. Bioethicist Mark Cherry explores the why of these well-intentioned misperceptions and legislation and boldly deconstructs the roadblocks that are standing in the way of restoring health to thousands of people. If most Americans accept the notion that the market is the most efficient means to distribute resources, why should body parts be excluded? Kidney for Sale by Owner contends that the market is indeed a legitimate - and humane - way to procure and distribute human organs. Cherry stakes the claim that it may be even more just, and more compatible with many Western religious and philosophical traditions, than the current charity-based system now in place. He carefully examines arguments against a market for body parts, including assertions based on the moral views of John Locke, Immanuel Kant, and Thomas Aquinas, and shows these claims to be steeped in myth, oversimplification, and contorted logic. Rather than focusing on purported human exploitation and the irrational "moral repugnance" of selling organs, Cherry argues that we should focus on saving lives. Following on the thinking of the philosopher Robert Nozick, he demonstrates that, with regard to body parts, the important core humanitarian values of equality, liberty, altruism, social solidarity, human dignity, and, ultimately, improved health care are more successfully supported by a regulated market rather than by well meant but misguided, prohibitions.

The Ethics of Organ Transplants: The Current Debate (Contemporary Issues (Buffalo, N.Y.).) (Paperback 1999)~ Arthur L. Caplan (Author, Editor), Daniel H. Coelho (Editor)
From Library Journal
Renowned bioethicist Caplan (Ctr. for Bioethics, Univ. of Pennsylvania) and medical writer Coelho have selected 35 articles that are representative of the ethical issues surrounding organ transplantation. Scarcity of organs and the high costs involved in these procedures force difficult legal, philosophical, scientific, and economic choices. What are the sources of organs used in transplantation? How can we make the procurement system more efficient? Should we pay for organs? Should someone who has already received one transplant be allowed a second? Should alcoholics be given liver transplants? Are transplants really worth the tremendous costs? These are just a few of the questions discussed here. In many cases, the editors have selected companion articles that illustrate contrasting viewpoints on a particular issue. Although some articles are slightly dated, the issues are still relevant. This well-balanced, reasonably priced compilation is recommended for all libraries.ATina Neville, Univ. of South Florida at St. Petersburg Lib.Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

The U.S. Organ Procurement System: A Prescription for Reform (AEI Evaluative Studies.) (Hardcover) by David L. Kaserman and A. H. Barnett
Product Description
Experts make a compelling and persuasive case for markets in human organs.

Kieran Healy, Last Best Gift. Altruism and the Market for Human Blood and Organs. Chicago University Press, 2006

The Baby Business: How Money, Science, and Politics Drive the Commerce of Conception (Hardcover)~ Debora L. Spar
From Publishers Weekly
Among the troubling aspects of new reproductive technologies is the takeover of reproduction by the marketplace. This probing study accepts the free market process while casting a discerning and skeptical eye at its pitfalls. Harvard business prof Spar (The Cooperative Edge: The Internal Politics of International Cartels) explores many aspects of the high-tech commodification of procreation: the fabulous revenues commercial fertility clinics earn from couples' desperate desire for children and the ensuing conflicts between medical ethics and the profit motive; the premiums paid for sperm and eggs from genetically desirable donors; the possible exploitation of poor, nonwhite and Third World surrogate mothers paid to gestate the spawn of wealthy Westerners; the fine line between modern adoption practices and outright baby selling; and the new entrepreneurial paradigm of maternity, in which the official "mother" simply finances the assemblage of sperm, purchased egg and hired womb and lays contractual claim to the finished infant. Spar considers most of these developments inevitable and not undesirable (they provide kids to parents who want them), but calls for government regulation to curb excesses and protect the interests of all involved. Her sanguinity will not satisfy all critics, but she offers a lucid, nuanced guide to this brave new world. (Feb. 14) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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