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My guest is Peter Jaworski of Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. He is the author, along with Jason Brennan, of Markets Without Limits.

We recorded this on August 24th, 2017, the same day Peter published an op-ed in the National Post titled “Canada needs blood plasma. We should pay donors to get it.” The op-ed argues in favour of allowing people who donate blood plasma in Canada to be compensated in return:

Canada buys the overwhelming majority of its plasma-protein products from American, for-profit companies that attract plasma donors by paying them. In 2016, Canadian Blood Services collected only 17 per cent of the total plasma it needs for essential plasma-products. To cover the shortfall, Canadian taxpayers spent $623 million buying just one of these products, immune globulin.

That’s why Canadian Blood Services (CBS) recently asked the government for $855 million in additional funding over the next seven years. They want to use the funds to open plasma collection centres that could collect more plasma that would be used to manufacture more of these products. And small wonder. Plasma-product pharmaceuticals treat a growing list of ailments, including life-threatening bleeding disorders, immune deficiencies, and infectious diseases like tetanus and hepatitis.

Despite this, when the Canadian company Canadian Plasma Services (CPS) stepped in to fill more of this need domestically?by using a paid donor model?groups like the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Canadian Health Coalition and others launched an aggressive campaign to stop them.

Peter and I discuss the best and most popular arguments against compensating blood plasma donors, and organ donors in general, then Peter gives counterarguments to each of these objections.

Furthermore, we discuss the United States’ recent legalization of compensation for bone marrow donors. In 2012, The Institute for Justice successfully argued in front of the 9th Circuit Court of the United States that bone marrow should be exempted from the 1984 National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA), since bone marrow can be extracted from blood and does not thus count as an organ. Blood was specifically exempted from NOTA.

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discussions

  • What role (if any) should the gov’t play in the continued funding of cutting-edge scientific research? According to the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and  Development), approximately 10% of all R&D conducted globally is directly funded by governments, with approximately 60% done by private industry and 20% by educational institutions. Granted, this number probably doesn’t take into account indirect gov’t funding through tax subsidies and incentives. That 10% goes towards projects on the cutting edge of science, such as NASAs various space ventures and the Large Hadron Collider at CERN (funded through the governments of the member states). Proponents of big gov’t science, such as Neil Degrasse Tyson, have stated in the past that projects like these are unlikely to be privately funded due to their high risk, high cost, and lack of return on investment. Gov’t, claims Tyson, is required to make the initial step and take all the risk so that private firms can follow in its wake with a clear picture of the requirements of such endeavours. TAM 2011: Our Future in Space Would such high risk, high cost projects be possible without gov’t backing?

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  • What if Parents Loved Strangers’ Children As Much As Their Own? Last December, the author and philosopher Sam Harris invited Paul Bloom, a professor of psychology at Yale, to appear on his podcast, “Waking Up.” It was Bloom’s third stint as a guest, and, as before, the two men devoted a significant portion of their conversation to the subject of empathy. Bloom had just published a book, “Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion,” in which he drew a distinction between empathy (the ability to feel other people’s pain) and compassion (desiring others’ well-being); according to Bloom, society needs less of the former and more of the latter. On the podcast, he and Harris talked about how empathy favors people you know over people you don’t, and how this favoritism leads to harmful behaviors such as tribalism and nationalism. They advocated a cooler, more rational approach to moral decision-making. Then they asked how far such an approach could be taken. Some forms of preferential treatment, Harris and Bloom noted, are considered appropriate, as when parents love their children more than they do strangers. But they wondered whether this, too, might be a behavior that requires correcting. They cited the utilitarian philosopher Peter Singer, who famously pointed out that spending money on non-essentials means valuing your comfort over the lives of people starving elsewhere in the world. Bloom admitted that he buys toys and vacations for his children, identifying this as a moral dilemma that we all face. He and Harris engaged in a thought experiment: Would the world be improved if parents cared for other people just as much as they cared for their own children…While we’ve seen some reversals of this in the past year or two—including Brexit, the election of Donald Trump, and the resurgence of the xenophobic right—it’s not unreasonable to believe that these are temporary setbacks, blips in a broader trend that obtains over centuries or millennia. If this trend continues in the future, it could end in a kind of species-wide eusociality, at which point the perfectly impartial affection that Harris and Bloom posit might no longer seem so outlandish.? At first glance, I rolled my eyes thinking this was a call for collective child-rearing and how individualism is evil (Although he does take swipes at Trump and Brexit).  However on the whole, Chiang’s piece for the New Yorker is surprisingly balanced, with the exception talking about Brexit and Trump, as he cites several examples like the Kibbutzim in Israel where collectively raising children was not a good thing.  How if we all adopted a guru mindset of impartial affection the world would not be a utopia. What are your thoughts? Reactions?

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  • Dominance, Sharing, and Privacy gives us a simplified (maybe oversimplified), and intuitive way to categorize human sociality. Instead of thinking of social structures as being diverse and too complicated to be categorized, these three categories allow us to classify behaviors that address conflict as one of three types or a combination of the three.  For example, might makes right is not really a property norm but it is a dominance strategy. The ethic that the world belongs to everyone is not an alternative property norm, it is the nullification of property in favor of a sharing norm.  The violent defense of a territory is not a might makes right or dominance behavior but is the defense of privacy. The reluctance to intrude on others prior establish territory is not just a fear of retaliation but a respect for privacy.   For moe read: Dominance, Sharing, and Privacy (DSP), The Three Principles of Sociality  

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  • I mean a real socialist, not a guy that voted for Obama. A guy that is every bit socialist as I am libertarian. Background: I met a guy on online. I found out that he is an engineer in SF and a socialist. He loves seeing socialist philosophers speak, Black Lives Matter demonstrations, and Tumblr. I’m also a SF resident and more knowledgable and more sympathetic toward the far left than most libertarians. I also have a job that is stereotypically liberal (elementary school teacher) so we’re kind of the opposite. We’ve hung out twice so far and I think we are pretty cute together. I always say teasing things to him like, “Do you follow fuckyeahelizabethwarren on Tumblr?” He doesn’t know much about libertarianism but when I met him I was going to see Jeffrey Tucker speak on the same day and he was interested to hear about it. Has anyone ever gone down this dark path before? Any predictions on what will happen?

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  • Perhaps you will find this magnificent BBC documentary interesting. It tells the story of the ancient city of Caral, a little north of Lima on the coast of Peru, which is arguably the oldest city in and the beginning of civilization in the Americas. The Lost Pyramids Of Caral There are two points I would like to make about the story told therein of Caral which I think are relevant to libertarians. 1) The early civilization of Caral apparently arose purely out of commerce. This confirms the insights of the Austrian school of economics. And it may be an example of a commercially organized cooperative human society that antedates the rise of any state. 2) This contradicts the presumptions brought to the study by the archaeologists. For one example, at 7:20 one states the following. You can’t build … on the basis of consensus. You have to have leaders and followers. You have to have specialists. You have to have people who are in charge. People who can tell individual groups, alright, today you will be doing this. This group you are going to be doing something different. In other words, in his academic world, the possibility is inconceivable of that human cooperation could be organized by trade — the marketplace — rather than authority.

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