You could interpret my lethargy, this afternoon, in one of two ways. I’ve had a busy and productive week, so perhaps it’s the waning stamina of an older man that keeps me from wanting to write much of anything. Or maybe it’s that I’m still young enough not to have lost that student’s sense that a June Friday ought to draw your eyes out the window in a search for summer.
Whatever the case, I’ve been holding on to this link, looking for an opening:
It might sound like science fiction, or a recent episode of “Silicon Valley,” but a start-up called Ambrosia is charging $8,000 for blood transfusions from young people.
About 100 people have signed up to receive an infusion, founder Dr. Jesse Karmazin said Wednesday at the Code Conference.
And here we go. On the one hand, my libertarian leanings lead me to ask, “So what?” The kids have blood, and people are willing to pay for it. On the other hand… well… this is wealthy people buying the blood of less-wealthy people for speculative rejuvenating purposes. You don’t have to be a novelist to see how this could go wrong.
On first consideration, too, there’s no good way to go about this. The nightmare scenario involves rich people creating a market for the blood of the poor, which creates either opportunity for blood theft or a likelihood of exploitation. As it is at the moment, the donors don’t know their blood is being used for this purpose, which means they may be undervaluing it on the false expectation that they’re helping people in emergency situations.
Oh, yeah, and what about all those people who need blood for immediate reasons? Market forces will devalue their use, or drive their price up.
By its extremity, this matter brings us back to first principles. I’d be disinclined to interfere with the market and people’s liberty, in general, but that would require a stronger culture — one capable of shaming those who might exploit this particular freedom like vampires.