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The Red Market: On the Trail of the…
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The Red Market: On the Trail of the World's Organ Brokers, Bone…

by Scott Carney

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A very well-written book that explores the underside of the 'modern' organ donation industry/racket. It tells us of how entrepreneurs have made a market in an area that is perpetually gray. The philosophical questions the author raises, about organ donation etc. are worth reading.

A good book, highly recommended! ( )
  sriram_shankar | Nov 25, 2016 |
The "red market" of the title is the trade, of varying degrees of legality, in human bodies and body parts. There's a surprising amount of ground that can cover: from the donation or selling of organs, blood, egg cells, and even hair, to the mounting of human skeletons for the teaching of anatomy, to renting out one's body as a drug tester or pregnancy surrogate, to offering a baby up for adoption. There's no doubt that all of that can do a lot of good, but the origins of all that human material can sometimes be very troubling indeed. Scott Carney delves into that darker side, describing, among other horrors, bones robbed from graves, children kidnapped from their families and handed over to adoption agencies who can profit from hefty "international adoption fees," and people living in extreme poverty who are exploited badly by those willing to pay -- but not pay very much -- for their kidneys or the use of their wombs. Mostly he focuses on India as a red market supplier, it seems partly because there's a lot of this stuff going on there, but also just because that's where he happens to live.

It's disturbing stuff, for sure. I'm not sure how I feel about Carney's suggestions for how to improve things, though. He talks a lot about how transparency about exactly where, and exactly who, organs and babies and blood come from might make the shadier parts of the red market harder to maintain, and he might have a point. But, medical privacy being as important as it is, it's an idea that I can't help having some reservations about. And as for his assertions that doctors "create a market" for transplants and that perhaps people should instead "learn to accept mortality..." Geez. I kind of get where he's coming from, but that's harsh, and his willingness to make that kind of statement so baldly and so callously does make me think that here's a guy who has maybe let himself get a little carried away on this subject, which inclines me to take some of his other assertions and opinions with more of a grain of salt.

Still. Whatever one thinks of Carney's personal take on the subject, or his ideas on how to deal with it, he is definitely uncovering something here that all of us, particularly those who stand to benefit from it, should be much more aware of than we are, even if that awareness is unpleasant. Which it is. It really, really is. ( )
  bragan | Oct 25, 2016 |
An interesting read! Makes me want to go to India even less, and if I ever went and ended up in a hospital I think I'd rather take my chances and jump from a window. Anything that is wrong with the world seems to have its reasons in the USA and its sufferers either in India or China. Money talks. ( )
  Iira | Jul 28, 2016 |
Scott Carney travels the world (and by "the world" I mean "India") to discover the dark side of the red market, the trade in human body parts. Whether it's blood for transfusions during/after surgery, kidneys for replacements, or female eggs for in vitro fertilization, for every heart-warming success story there is a dark counterpart, for all those things have to come from somewhere, and when anything has a market value, some people will do anything to make a profit.

I wanted to like this book, and some parts of it I really did. It is definitely concerning to read about the global black market in human tissue, and when the author focuses on the facts related to it I found the book very informative. The problem is the author pushes his own agenda too hard, and he is too opinionated for my taste. He frequently points out how sad it is that people who live in poverty are "forced" to sell things like blood to make ends meet, citing how it's exploitative and unfair, but then insinuates that they shouldn't be allowed to do it. Which does nothing but cut off a potential source of income from a free renewable resource in their possession.

He bemoans how terrible and unfair it is that the poor have to give blood for money so that the rich can use it for themselves, but this is a fundamental aspect of human civilization, and is important for a functioning economy. In almost every situation in almost every form of government money flows from poor hands into rich ones, so every opportunity you have to siphon money out of rich pockets and distribute it among poor communities should be seized upon, as it creates a more balanced, free-flowing system.

This was my problem with the book, you see. Had he stuck to the facts, and nothing but the facts, I would have been appropriately alarmed and terrified at the subject matter. Instead I spent most of the time fuming that the guy had the audacity to decide what is right for people in a different financial situation than he is. It's sad too, because he has an excellent point in the end, that human tissue exchange should be made more public so that the black market could be more easily traced, but I couldn't focus on that because I was too busy disagreeing with just about everything else he said.

Then, just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, the author spoils the ending of Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, which is pretty much the biggest pet peeve ever of mine. Fortunately I've already read it, but c'mon man, what are you doing!?

I can't say this book is terrible, if you agree with his views you may find it a highly satisfying read. I prefer cold, distant, objective, and emotionless nonfiction, and the author was too emotionally involved, which killed the book for me. 2 stars. ( )
  Ape | Jul 25, 2016 |
A disturbing report on the international trade in human parts from eggs to bones to children and blood. For some readers, the details may be overwhelming, but for others interested in the macabre, it is a fascinating detective story. I found it rather disturbing that Canadian company Osta International sells some of the finest articulated human skulls and skeletons to prestigious educational facilities in the world.
( )
  ShelleyAlberta | Jun 4, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061936464, Hardcover)

An in-depth report that takes readers on a shocking tour through a macabre global underworld where organs, bones, and live people are bought and sold on the red market

Investigative journalist Scott Carney has spent five years on the ground tracing the lucrative and deeply secretive trade in human bodies and body parts—a vast hidden economy known as the "red market." From the horrifying to the ridiculous, he discovers its varied forms: an Indian village nicknamed "Kidneyvakkam" because most of its residents have sold their kidneys for cash; unscrupulous grave robbers who steal human bones from cemeteries, morgues, and funeral pyres for anatomical skeletons used in Western medical schools and labs; an ancient temple that makes money selling the hair of its devotees to wig makers in America—to the tune of $6 million annually.

The Red Market reveals the rise, fall, and resurgence of this multibillion-dollar under­ground trade through history, from early medical study and modern universities to poverty-ravaged Eurasian villages and high-tech Western labs; from body snatchers and surrogate mothers to skeleton dealers and the poor who sell body parts to survive. While local and international law enforcement have cracked down on the market, advances in science have increased the demand for human tissue—ligaments, kidneys, even rented space in women's wombs—leaving little room to consider the ethical dilemmas inherent in the flesh-and-blood trade. At turns tragic, voyeuristic, and thought-provoking, The Red Market is an eye-opening, surreal look at a little-known global industry and its implications for all our lives.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:27 -0400)

A shocking tour through a macabre global underworld where organs, bones, and live people are bought and sold on the red market. Investigative journalist Scott Carney has spent five years tracing the lucrative and deeply secretive trade in human bodies and body parts. The Red Market reveals the rise, fall, and resurgence of this multibillion-dollar underground trade through history, from early medical study and modern universities to poverty-ravaged Eurasian villages and high-tech Western labs; from body snatchers and surrogate mothers to skeleton dealers and the poor who sell body parts to survive. While local and international law enforcement have cracked down on the market, advances in science have increased the demand for human tissue--ligaments, kidneys, even rented space in women's wombs--leaving little room to consider the ethical dilemmas inherent in the flesh-and-blood trade.--From publisher description.… (more)

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