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The Gift RelationshipFrom Human Blood to Social Policy$
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Richard Titmuss

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781447349570

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447349570.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 24 September 2021

Blood and the law of the marketplace

Blood and the law of the marketplace

(p.132) 9 Blood and the law of the marketplace
The Gift Relationship

Richard M. Titmuss

Policy Press

This chapter discusses the application of the values of the marketplace to human blood. American and British economists are making an economic case against a monopoly of altruism in blood and other human tissues. They wish to set people free from the conscience of obligation. Although their arguments are couched in the language of price elasticity and profit-maximisation, they have far-reaching implications for human values and all ‘social service’ institutions. However, the moral issues that are raised extend far beyond theories of pricing and the operations of the marketplace. They involve the foundations of professional freedom in medical care and other service relationships with people; the concept of the hospital and the university as non-profit-making institutions; and the legal doctrine in the United States of charitable immunity.

Keywords:   marketplace, human blood, altruism, price elasticity, profit maximisation, professional freedom, medical care, non-profit institutions, charitable immunity

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