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The United States federal government should permit the use of financial incentives to encourage orga

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/22/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,195 times Debate No: 15548
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)




Resolved: The United States federal government should permit the use of financial incentives to encourage organ donation.
Contention 1:By giving incentive for organ donations, people tend to overlook the risks. Money does talk and maybe a bit too much. In a situation where someone needs the money, they might ignore the health risks that are involved. When desperate for money, people will do anything, even risk their life. If an incentive was not offered, then the donors would be more aware of what they were risking. Citizens should be fully aware of what they are doing; Money just fogs it up.
Contention 2:This is not a Federal Issue. By permitting the use of financial incentives, the Federal government is basically saying that it has a say in organ donation, which is an issue of the state. The tenth Amendment, states have the say in all issues that the Constitution doesn't give to the Federal government, and Organ donation is not an issue given to the Federal government. Even though it is permitting, because it would be the first legislation on organ donation, the Federal government would be violating states rights on the issue of organ donation.
Contention 3: All the wrong reasons. A person should be induced to become an organ donor because he believes in the cause, not because someone will pay him for it. Too many people are living below the poverty level in this country and might become a donor against their conscience or better judgment hoping to gain some financial relief. Basically it will be the impoverished and ignorant who will be signing up.
Therefore i see no other ballot then that of the NEG!


Hi, thanks for the debate!

I plan on addressing only your first and last contention of your argument, as the legal jurisdiction of such a financial incentive is, in my opinion, incidental to the fundamental argument (however important it may be on a specific ballot or law).

Generally, you argue that by giving financial incentives for organ donation you incentivize risk-taking behaviour (especially amongst the needy) and self-interest is not an optimal motivation for organ donation.

I agree with you on the latter point, and disagree on the former, but neither point is sufficient to an argument against financially incentivizing organ donation.

First, the risks: while there are risks to organ donation, they have nothing to do with financial incentivizing donation. These risks are faced equally by altruistic donors and incentivized donors. Either you are arguing that it is OK for the rich to take risks but not the poor, or you're arguing that the risks of donating are such that no one should donate (ie the risks to the donor outweigh the benefit to the receiver). Neither position is tenable. Including the motivation for donation (damn that's catchy) doesn't change the strength of your argument, as paying money for risk is a fundamental part of our world, whether it's car insurance, stock prices, or working in a coal mine.

As for the real substance of your argument: that donating for money is "the wrong reason." You're absolutely right, in a perfect world, altruism would be a sufficient incentive for organ donors, and there would be no shortage of donors for waiting recipients. However, this is not a perfect world, and the fact that financial incentives work, where moral suasion has failed, is the fundamental flaw in your position.

In short, incentivizing organ donation is not a pretty thing. However, the alternative 'moral highground' position of depending only on altruism reflects both naivete and a careless disregard for the thousands of people dying on organ waitlists.

Debate Round No. 1


First of all, thank you for excepting this debate.

I was not saying either of what you stated, which precisely was "Either you are arguing that it is OK for the rich to take risks but not the poor, or you're arguing that the risks of donating are such that no one should donate" What i was saying was that if money talks, or in other words if people are doing it for money, then they will overlook the actual risks of the donation because they are not fully aware of the consequences. One of them being death. So if you were to state that this contention is invalid because of the quotes you stated earlier, then technically my contention still stands because you seemed to have misinterpreted what i was actually saying, therefore not actually arguing my case.

Next, You state that i am right in a "perfect world" which is logical, but wouldn't anyone agree that the government should do the "right thing" no matter what world we are in? So if they do the right thing by not tempting people to do the wrong thing, then they should not give financial, or any kind of incentive to people that don't occasionally volunteer or even volunteer. I don't think you are from the US because u said Cheers! Haha so i can understand you not arguing my second contention but even as it is, that means that that contention still stands, along with my Contention 1 and 3. So therefor if you look at the moral and the political standpoint, i have won this debate.
Thank You!


Good rejoinder.

Your first point, if I understand correctly, is that the poor will take the risk unknowingly simply for easy money. You do the poor no justice here; donors are made aware of the risks before donation. Yes, more poor people will donate, but not because they are unaware of the risks, they will donate because the risk is acceptable given the reward. To assume their ignorance of the risks involved (especially since they will be made fully aware of the risks by the medical authority) insults the poor. You are making the assumption here that because a donor is poor he or she is less able to understand the risks of an operation when told by a doctor. That simply isn't the case, the risks are the risks to the poor and rich alike. It's like arguing that only the working class work in coal mines because they don't understand the risks they take.... in fact they understand perfectly well, but the risk premium is sufficient to match that perceived risk.

The poor won't be taking the risks more because they're less informed, they'll be taking the risks because they need the money. Again, a risk premium exists in all walks of life... from earthquake insurance to workers compensation. Paying people for taking risks happens on Wall Street, construction companies, mining companies, all insurance policies are based on this principle.

Of course there may be people that somehow don't understand the risks when the doctor goes through it with them, but that has nothing to do with income. The 'idiot' factor exists for both altruistic donors and poor donors alike, and unless you're calling the poor stupid, there is no difference between the two... the real reason more poor people will donate is because, knowing the risks, they will choose to donate because for them the compensation is an acceptable risk premium.

Your second point is excellent, and I think speaks to your principled character. Yes, in a perfect world you are correct, and no this is not a perfect world. However, making the argument that government should behave AS IF it were a perfect world if very noble, but also very ugly in how it works out. As I said above, thousands of people have life-threatening need of immediate transplants. The New York Times recently estimated that someone dies on an organ waitlist every 90 minutes... by the time we have finished this debate, over two dozen people will have died waiting for organs. Yes, you are right, in many ways we should act as if we live in a perfect world. However the simple fact is we don't live there, and sometimes acting like we do means making the world an uglier place than it has to be.
Debate Round No. 2


PJ forfeited this round.


Vote pro!
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by PJ 5 years ago
@Cobo haha its not that easy so look at the actual debate:)
Posted by Johnicle 5 years ago
OH WAIT: you're con... nevermind
Posted by Johnicle 5 years ago
I don't think I've ever seen one but there should definitely be one lol.
Posted by Johnicle 5 years ago
If someone runs a blood-transfusion bad Kritik they will be my best friend.
Posted by Cobo 5 years ago
Pro Side lol-Get Money an Save people.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: FF