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|Title||The Red Market: On the Trail of the World’s |
Organ Brokers, Bone Thieves, Blood Farmers,
and Child Traffickers
|Publisher||Harper Collins e-books; Illustrated edition |
(May 31, 2011)
|Format||Kindle, Hardcover, Audiobook|
|Genre||Anatomy, Physician & Patient Medical Ethics, |
|ASIN||ASIN : B004FEF6OW|
A trade that exists on the boundaries of what is considered ethical, moral and legal. Scott Carney’s investigation exposes the inequity and abuse of the current systems as they relate to the market in human genetic material that include whole body sales of adults, children and babies. Litercurious.comTweet
Scott Carney is an investigative journalist, author and anthropologist, as well as the creative talent behind of such notable works as: The Enlightenment Trap, What Doesn’t Kill Us’, The Wedge and The Vortex.
For more than a century, graves have turned up empty across the Indian countryside; the bodies sold abroad as anatomical skeletons. Until recently the trade was so extensive that just about every classroom skeleton in America is rumored to have come from India.
The Red Market is a look at the contemporary markets for human sourced materials and their uses. It examines the cultural, sociological, moral and ethical aspects of an increasing market in everything from human organs to humans themselves; and everything in-between. Carney reflects on the disparity and inequity of the trade in human genetic materials and the methods used by ‘richer’ nations to harvest from the poorest people.
Carney initiates a sobering self-appraisal of the financial worth of his own body on the Red Market. He shares with us that the value of his physical being is approximately a quarter of a million US Dollars. From his skeleton to his plasma and from his corneas to his heart, he calculates the possible income from the sale of his body. He explains why the ‘Red Market’ is booming across the world; a trade that Carney estimates to be calculated in billions of dollars.
Carney addresses the critical nature of the many people who are unable to receive donated organs in the West. Due to legal hurdles, these people often travel to such diverse locations as India or China to exploit the poverty of those nations citizens. Through middle men who tend to make the greatest financial profit from every transaction, they purchase their organs on the ‘Red Market.’ The huge demand for human sourced materials combined with the wealth that can be earned, encourages the unscrupulous and the criminal element. Thus ensuring the donor receives the lowest possible amount of compensation; often without appropriate post-care support.
Whilst most procurements are abhorrent, the sales are more often than not legal and sanctioned due to the implicit moral argument that it is to save human life. Any hint of criminal activity is concealed from the glare of publicity behind a veil of altruistic propaganda. Carney notes that Western attitudes to such things as organ donations for transplants create an unhealthy one-way market. Flesh donations only move up the social classes and never down in an inherently inequitable system. Carney opines that the donors are doubly disadvantaged. There is no benefit to the donor beyond a small financial incentive, and they face only disadvantages as a result of their misguided altruism.
The Red Market is essentially a peak behind the hidden world of organs and human genetic materials donations and the trade in children internationally. A trade that exists on the boundaries of what is considered ethical, moral and legal. Scott Carney’s investigation exposes the inequity and abuse of the current systems as they relate to the market in human genetic material that include whole body sales of adults, children and babies.
I realize many may be unaware that a human genetic source market exists or possess any knowledge of just how lucrative a business it is. If you are healthy, you probably never even consider it at all; unless you have a friend, family member or an associate with a condition that requires medical intervention. We never think about the significant life challenges that might ensue for the donor and their family. It prompts the question, in my mind, of what are the limits of responsibility that the recipient has to the donor. The laws that prevent the recipient from knowing who provided their life-extending genetic material, also prevents appropriate post-operative care for the donor.
There are some who are awaiting for the alternatives known as xenotransplantation; transplanted organs that come from animals rather than from humans. One thing seems apparent, with the increasing aging population, the demand for a vast range of human based medical interventions is likely to expand. In any economy, scarcity drives the price and according to Carney the current system only benefits those with significant resources; to the detriment of those least likely to benefit from the trade.
Whilst the subject is sometimes grim, disturbing and alarming, I am still delighted that I took the time to read it. There is a lot to digest here, and I took a long time before producing this review. The weight of the subject lays heavy on your heart and it is a struggle to remain objective and dispassionate. You may find The Red Market a challenging page turner. However, I expect the real-life stories will touch you and remain with you long after you have put the book away.
If you enjoy reading The Red Market, I strongly recommend you equally consider reading The Organ Thieves by Chip Jones. Although the two publications cover many of same ethical dilemmas, they approach the subjects from very different time frames and stand-points. The Organ Thieves provides a broader historic perspective on the topic. It is invaluable in advancing an understanding of the ethical complexities of the subject handed down from the past to the present day.
Read our review of The Organ Thieves here.
I would like to thank Scott Carney, Harper Collins, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review The Red Market: On the Trail of the World’s Organ Brokers, Bone Thieves, Blood Farmers, and Child Traffickers.