Where it Hurts: Indian Material for an Ethics of Organ Transplantation

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Abstract

This article focuses on ethical issues surrounding the selling and buying of human organs. The author argues that most people who sell their organs (mainly kidneys) in India do so in order to pay already existing debts. The transaction is only temporarily an exchange of “life for life,” and most “donors” are back in debt soon after the operation. The author discusses the flexible ethics that reduce reality to dyadic transactions and the purgatorial ethics that collapse real and imaginary exploitation in the service of complex interests. He also offers a sophisticated discussion of the ethics of publicity and public ethics. He emphasizes the lack of factual information, intentional manipulation of information, and the dissemination of kidney panics and kidney scandals, especially by the new developing bioauthorities and bioethical brokers.

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