A recurrent topic on Al Roth’s excellent blog Market Design. The latest news is that legislation has passed in Singapore which may open the door to monetary compensation for organ donors. (I say “may” because the reports are somewhat murky. See the article for details.)
Whether or not the new laws truly legitimize organ sales, markets have a way of organizing themselves around and in-between the cracks of legislation. I wonder if the following transaction would be considered taboo. I need a kidney, you have a spare. By law, I cannot pay you for the kidney and you would not give it to me without compensation. So instead I buy five minutes of primetime network TV air, say in the middle of American Idol, to broadcast my documentary about you telling the world what a heroic human being you are, how you saved my life and where to send you donations.
I could imagine that the amount of donations exceed the cost of airtime.
Update: Al Roth has a new post clarifying the Singapore legislation.