The Broken Economics of Organ Transplants

Learn new skills for free for two months by signing up for Skillshare at

Listen to Extremities at

Buy a Wendover Productions t-shirt:

Subscribe to Half as Interesting (The other channel from Wendover Productions):

Instagram: sam.from.wendover
Sponsorship Enquiries:
Other emails:

Animation by Josh Sherrington
Sound by Graham Haerther
Thumbnail by Simon Buckmaster

Select footage courtesy the AP Archive


Musicbed SyncID:


  1. flypimpin ogflypimp

    flypimpin ogflypimpKun oldin

    My people pay for a kidney what's the harm in that. I think Iran's got it right. It's probably the only thing they got right

  2. Gerard Duarte

    Gerard Duarte9 kun oldin

    The tired part arespectively continue because list fundamentally recognise next a secretive burn. sturdy, yielding jason

  3. Pickles

    PicklesOy oldin

    I remember sitting at a ghetto DMV waiting on new license plates or something for like an hour and I noticed almost all blacks registering or renewing licenses said no to being an organ donor. I wonder how they would feel if they learned they needed a new kidney? I'd love to respond with the same, "Uhm, no thanks," to adding them to the recipient list as they gave the DMV worker.

  4. Deity Slayer

    Deity Slayer2 oy oldin

    as an Iranian I must say its a disaster here in iran ! the supply is way higher than demand nowadays as poverty is taking its toll on ppl and only a few healthy rich individuals can afford to purchase organs that they usually don't need as they mostly are enjoying a high quality of living and diet and medical care

  5. OTV

    OTV2 oy oldin

    So how come David Rockefeller got his 6th heart transplant at the age 99?

  6. Dave

    Dave3 oy oldin

    I can think of at least a couple of ways to increase the supply, First of all, if you haven’t been registered as a donor for at least 10 years you’re simply not eligible to receive an organ (or bumped to the bottom of the list below all registered donors). A national life insurance program could be put into place, requiring donor registration rather than premiums.

  7. James Dinius

    James Dinius3 oy oldin

    Ah yes UZnick, I definitely needed COVID info on this video on Organ Transplant Economics. Keep up the great work -_-

  8. P P

    P P3 oy oldin

    2:07 vsauce

  9. crazygame crafter

    crazygame crafter3 oy oldin

    Yes criticize capitalism more

  10. LANBros

    LANBros3 oy oldin

    The worthless tom-tom immuhistochemically replace because back macroscopically groan forenenst a itchy earth. groovy, insidious margaret

  11. John Moore

    John Moore4 oy oldin

    I personally think it wouldn’t be a bad idea for the government to incentivize organ donation by giving money to the next of kin if you were to die in a situation in which your organs could be used. You don’t benefit but you can help your family once you’re gone, this also doesn’t change the fact that the allocation is based on need. All you’re doing is increasing supply by increasing the amount of people enrolled. Or if you asked me a smart thing to do would make organ donation default by law and allow people to opt out, rather than the present reverse system.

  12. sup king

    sup king4 oy oldin

    Lets just hurry up and make fake organs

  13. Norrotaku

    Norrotaku5 oy oldin

    I wonder how Covid changed the "young donor organ" market

  14. Norrotaku

    Norrotaku5 oy oldin

    I wouldn't take the pineapple if I wasn't hungry or if I already had one or if I had the chance to get one every day

  15. Nacho Perez

    Nacho Perez5 oy oldin

    There’s also the option of registering everyone as an organ donor by default. Which also increases abundance and decrease fairness

  16. Stephen Fazekas

    Stephen Fazekas5 oy oldin

    There's stock footage of a dr counting money next to a organ cooler?

  17. k y

    k y5 oy oldin


  18. MatGE

    MatGE5 oy oldin

    Thought this was anout switzerland... disapointed... 😜 jk its just that your thumbnail is the wrong color

  19. Ondřej Foršt

    Ondřej Foršt5 oy oldin

    The example with pineapples is misleading. Let's substitute pineapple for a luxury yacht. I would realllly like to have a yacht, but even with all my money combined I can't afford one. On the other hand a rich person might sort of want a yacht and buy it for a fraction of his wealth. Doesn't feel quite the same way, as stealing pineapples from poor people by the one percenters.

  20. B Y M

    B Y M5 oy oldin

    We just gonna ignore the fact that theres 300 billion pineapples in the world

  21. Sam-pie

    Sam-pie5 oy oldin

    I think you should be registered as an organ donor from the day you're born with the option to opt out, not the other way around

  22. Morita Hadad

    Morita Hadad5 oy oldin

    The tense crocodile electronmicroscopically tug because swordfish neuroanatomically disarm unlike a cynical married. utopian, orange composition

  23. Laurent Saint-Pierre

    Laurent Saint-Pierre5 oy oldin

    Great content, raises interesting questions

  24. Isaac Siao

    Isaac Siao5 oy oldin

    The feeble feigned silica essentially colour because jason evidently tie through a weak flugelhorn. jagged, gainful kayak

  25. Onetwo Threefour

    Onetwo Threefour5 oy oldin

    wendover production is a dirty commie confirmed goddamn socialists are willing to kill more people just so that their system prevails over the capitalism, absolutely disgusting

  26. Conrad Hintz

    Conrad Hintz5 oy oldin

    Seeing someone you recognize in the stock footage feels weird.

  27. Niall Walsh

    Niall Walsh5 oy oldin

    The US has a system where you can't move organs between arbitrary regions for reasons that aren't quite explained, but can jump the queue by flying into another region on a private jet. The only alternative is to have a system where a rich person pays a poor person to quite literally have their guts ripped open. These are the only two options. Therefore, a fair system is not possible.

  28. Kaviraj Sivarajah

    Kaviraj Sivarajah5 oy oldin

    Fail to mention an opt out solution that increases supple

  29. AJ Dexter

    AJ Dexter5 oy oldin

    Thank you NHS, also I’m a organ donor and I’m pretty sure it’s mandatory now. When I die weather that’s in 3 weeks or hopefully 70+ years someone will make use of my organs, another reason to stay healthy . If you drink a lot of alcohol or eat a lot of fatty foods, Whether it’s a fatty liver or a damaged heart. So keep your organs nice and clean because if you die in a freak accident (car crash, or ran over) Your organs can be used to save others. Just make sure you’re not overweight and drink plenty of water, Keep your organs healthy they keep you healthy. Also minimises the risk of you needing an organ transplant which put even more strain on the list.

  30. Tomas Goes

    Tomas Goes5 oy oldin

    "You cannot increase supply"? Wikipedia: "List of mass murders in the past years (This list is incomplete, *you can help by expanding it* ).

  31. Dexter Dextrow

    Dexter Dextrow5 oy oldin

    Well, maybe I don't want your shoddy pineapple, how about that? Yea, I shot down your intire argument.

  32. Snippy

    Snippy5 oy oldin

    I am 28 years old, reliant on dialysis and waiting on a kidney. But since i'm quit well im happy to wait like 6 more yeas for an ethically transplant. AMA :D

  33. Lucas Liso

    Lucas Liso5 oy oldin

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't paying people to donate blood also prey on desperate people to sell their blood?

  34. Vilja

    Vilja5 oy oldin

    Yup, though blood donations aren't as malicious because blood donation is far less likely to result in health complications than giving up a kidney and there is (or should be in responsible places) a limit to how often you can donate which further ensures the donation doesn't put people at risk. Kinda relevant: this is also why many places forbid monetary compensation for surrogate pregnancies.

  35. Shoriful Haque

    Shoriful Haque5 oy oldin

    12:03 That's a tough question mate. It's not easy to come up with an answer.

  36. ron landau

    ron landau5 oy oldin

    What about a system you pay to a pot of donation compensation, and for any donation you get the ratio between the pot and the waiting list?

  37. Evan Roden

    Evan Roden5 oy oldin

    It should be noted that New York also has the lowest rate of organ donation members (37%}, compared to other states (Montana is 99%)

  38. Taiwan is a country

    Taiwan is a country5 oy oldin

    Fairness over money. I am poor guy in Denmark. I only have a chance in this life because of equal opportunities here. I am an organ donor, I applied as soon as I returned from studying in Beijing. I was 24 back then. I support the Australian model. Where you need to report to be taken off the list. What happend in Beijing was a teacher was asking me and a fellow student if there was anything she could do for her friend's father who had stage 4 liver cancer. She told us that the hospital demanded 160 thousand Yuan for a liver, but that they could get it within a week. Firstly, yes China does commit organ harvesting for profit. Secondly, we had to tell her, that it would be a waste of money, since it was stage 4.

  39. Daniel Survivor

    Daniel Survivor5 oy oldin

    11:48 "inequality" is a vague term you keep using. So long as the organ transplants are legal and made on voluntary basis, it's fair.

  40. Daniel Survivor

    Daniel Survivor5 oy oldin

    3:54 I love how even in the video where you try to demonize free market healthcare, you still manage to point out huge flaws as to why Government solution is worse. Aka long wait times. You realise they're that long because of *Government?* 10:55 You realise that "free" healthcare insurance comes out of OUR taxpayer currency?! So unless the recipient somehow is the only one who pays for the donors "free" healthcare insurance. That means people who had nothing to do with that transaction, have to pay extra in taxes.

  41. Vilja

    Vilja5 oy oldin

    US could afford free healthcare for everyone with no increases to taxes by simply moving a fraction of its military budget to something humane. Why should having money mean you get better healthcare? What makes rich individuals more deserving of life?

  42. Kolbe Mueller

    Kolbe Mueller5 oy oldin

    If they give it to the person who pays more they can use the money for research to make synthetic organs

  43. Umer Yazdani

    Umer Yazdani5 oy oldin

    Cmon man he just wants the pineapple

  44. Ernst Schmidt

    Ernst Schmidt6 oy oldin

    "you can't increase supply without commoditizing organs" then what about reducing organ donation barriers/restrictions? like opt-out systems. you did mention the usual barriers to donation in the video but forgot that option for the sake of argument.

  45. Ivan abdurrofi Al hakim

    Ivan abdurrofi Al hakim6 oy oldin

    China definitely did not harvest organs that came from Falun Gong and nothing happened at 1989 in Tiananmen Square.

  46. Robin Sui

    Robin Sui6 oy oldin

    How can we solve systematic inequality amongst organ recipients? Wendover productions: "by allowing those that are the most affected by poverty to sell off their organs for half a years wages"

  47. insertcleverphrasehere

    insertcleverphrasehere6 oy oldin

    What if the government paid people who were willing to donate? That removes the gatekeeping of rich people being the only ones who can afford a kidney. Poor people would still be the vast majority of living donors, but at least the transplant list would be highly bolstered. The government could change how much it offered so as to pay as little as possible to get enough organs.

  48. James Corwin

    James Corwin6 oy oldin

    10:19 " this new word. Using it.

  49. Nathan Holmes-King

    Nathan Holmes-King6 oy oldin

    When self-driving cars become commonplace, there will be a massive shortage of young and healthy organ donors.

  50. Adityachk2002

    Adityachk20026 oy oldin

    I love this channel

  51. Pop Fan

    Pop Fan6 oy oldin

    I had liver cancer and had to get a transplant. In a miracle we got the call 6 hours after being on the list.

  52. Synth Sol

    Synth Sol6 oy oldin

    Why don’t we let abortions grow a little larger (in laboratories) so their deaths can save many lives

  53. BIZKIT551

    BIZKIT5516 oy oldin

    3:30 but in China it's the opposite because of forced organ harvesting.. but that's a subject for another story.

  54. stolenshortsword

    stolenshortsword6 oy oldin

    sam really gonna show footage of an open heart surgery on video huh

  55. Madtrack

    Madtrack6 oy oldin

    Have it so the government, buys ownership of the Organ for a flat fee, and then gives it out to people on a list

  56. Steven Adams

    Steven Adams6 oy oldin

    The sloppy recorder respectively wrestle because wound accordingly scrape failing a grumpy giant. shivering, impolite stone

  57. Cpt. Crash

    Cpt. Crash6 oy oldin

    65yrs old ... veteran.. type 2 diabetes.. already had one kidney transplant.. lasted a crazy 19 yrs before going bad ... what would his score be on getting another?

  58. SangoProductions213

    SangoProductions2136 oy oldin

    "Everyone can either be equally poor and dead, or they can be unequal." Oh boy. What a hard choice.

  59. Billy Metokur

    Billy Metokur6 oy oldin

    China got spares so I’m not worried

  60. TheDarrylJohnsonShow

    TheDarrylJohnsonShow6 oy oldin

    Nice, let more people die so we can feel good about fairness.

  61. Johan Danielsson

    Johan Danielsson7 oy oldin

    I would propose a third option: allocate donated organs based on need, but let the government buy for example kidneys from living donors. That way, more people in need of organs can be helped, at the same time as the poor and desperate who sell their organs can have it done in the relative safety of a proper hospital, instead of getting cut up in shady backalley clinics.

  62. Alexander Balabanov

    Alexander Balabanov7 oy oldin

    I think Israeli stock footage sites are cheaper according to Sam's videos

  63. Rorisang Monaledi

    Rorisang Monaledi7 oy oldin

    One thing I never considered until the pineapple analogy about 1 min into this video was the illusion of scarcity. Like we know that most food in the world goes to waste purely because of logistics and distribution inefficiencies. We also have more wastage in homes and restaurants etc that throw away “excess.” We know diamonds aren’t all that rare and I could go on but what if resources truly aren’t as scarce was we perceive them to be just badly managed on a ‘macroeconomic’ scale. Alternative uses and recycling are also another factor that has become a cliche but lowkey may have good reason because it’s rather sensible. I don’t necessarily think resources are scarce so much as we have been conditioned to consume ad infinitum. Although it seems like they’re one in the same.

  64. noNewFriends

    noNewFriends7 oy oldin

    Some of this B-Roll is hilarious

  65. Nicholas Prantil

    Nicholas Prantil7 oy oldin

    A sentence that I’ve never heard before - “I wish we did things here the same way they do in Iran!”

  66. Brian Loper

    Brian Loper7 oy oldin

    Help me understand something... does this mean legalizing passive euthanasia would help to improve this system? Since typically you would need a nurse practitioner or someone. It doesn't seem like it'd be too much of a stretch to move that to a clinic if the organs could be used that way. Better than offing yourself and no one finding your body until everything is ruined.

  67. bananaman22

    bananaman227 oy oldin

    This video si based of a misunderstanding of how the system works anyway, unless hes North Korean or China CCP.

  68. Addari Purna

    Addari Purna7 oy oldin

    I'm sell my kidney my blood group o postive my number 6281320006

  69. Erga Ster

    Erga Ster7 oy oldin

    Lab grown organs is having a lot of progress in recent years. It's forecasted that in 30-40 years time some lab-made organs will be able to fully function safely inside a human. But it will likely take up to 75 years untill capacity can provide enough organs for people and also cover more organs. Future generations will be blessed with fewer risk and diseases and longer life-spans. Will be very interresting to see what future holds up for us, but sadly many of us wont live long enough to benefit it :p

  70. Chopperdragon39

    Chopperdragon397 oy oldin

    so people, don't be selfish and donate your organs after death

  71. Chopperdragon39

    Chopperdragon397 oy oldin

    @BankBucket2 ikr

  72. BankBucket2

    BankBucket27 oy oldin

    ik, what the fuck do u need em for after u die? dont understand why everyone doesnt do that

  73. DarkClarity

    DarkClarity7 oy oldin

    I wonder what would happen if a dual system existed. Where you could either donate for money. Which means only someone rich will get it and will pay you. Or donate for free where you know the person getting it is one in need. This could go very bad or better than either system. or just like one of the systems (probably the donating for money one where no one would use the second option)

  74. Julie

    Julie8 oy oldin

    Why not have 2 systems? A dead donor list and a living donor market? The death donor market goes by need as normal (for people who cannot pay) and a living donor market for those who can. Because let’s be honest very few people are going to donate a kidney without compensation so now poor people can get a kidney (slowly though) but more people can be saved due to the paid system

  75. Cheezumz002

    Cheezumz0028 oy oldin

    I had to wait 4.5yrs for my kidney. I ended up getting it when I was 24 and the donor was sadly a deceased 23yr old.

  76. Jacob Brunberg

    Jacob Brunberg8 oy oldin

    2:51 where the hell do you find a stock video of someone counting money next to a box of human organs? Like how did the company come up with that idea?

  77. Eric Camp

    Eric Camp8 oy oldin

    Who makes the scenes of transferring cash from patient to doctor immediately LMAO

  78. Charlie Verleysen

    Charlie Verleysen8 oy oldin

    Hi guys


    RITESH SHINDE8 oy oldin

    This video keeps jumping between left and right quadrants.

  80. hdhsnsndnd

    hdhsnsndnd8 oy oldin


  81. 1 million subs without a video challenge

    1 million subs without a video challenge8 oy oldin

    lol of course you can buy organs with money. David Rockefeller had 7 (!) heart transplants.

  82. Robert Garcia

    Robert Garcia8 oy oldin

    “This system has no way to increase supply when demand is higher” China has entered the chat 😈

  83. A Filthy Casual

    A Filthy Casual9 oy oldin

    Maybe there's a middle ground in terms of incentivization; like Singapore which makes you an organ donor by default with an opt-out system--where you're placed last for transplant priority if you aren't a donor. Or a small income tax cut for being an organ donor. Cause tbh I'd rather have an innocent young poor girl get her transplant and live on instead of jackass Chad from some predatory stock trading company buying her out of the transplant so he can go on fucking over more people🤷‍♂️

  84. A Filthy Casual

    A Filthy Casual9 oy oldin

    Commoditizing organs? Ya want "Repo!: The Genetic Opera"? Because that's how you get "Repo!: The Genetic Opera"

  85. Andy

    Andy9 oy oldin

    There is actually a similar problem with donating blood. In countries that have outlawed paid blood donations (i.e. effectively selling blood) they have a chronic shortage. Infact Australia, Canada, UK and NZ have to import most of their blood from the US where it's legal to sell.

  86. Andy

    Andy9 oy oldin

    You can fix the supply problems without fixing the demand ones and most of the problem will be solved. Still have an organ lists so there is equitable distribution. Just as long as people can be paid to sell their organs. Or even sell their organs once they die and their family receives the benefit. The main problem is it is illegal to sell organs.

  87. Dulat Bekbolsynov

    Dulat Bekbolsynov9 oy oldin

    There is a (partial) solution in the middle. Compensate living donors for the costs associated with donation. Currently, if someone wants to donate a kidney to someone they love or to a stranger, they have to undergo clinical evaluation, take time off at work, travel, lodge and recover all by themselves. This costs thousands of dollars and is one of factors limiting the supply of organs. American laws don't prohibit compensating organ donors all these expenses, and there are organizations that try to do that. But more needs to be done.

  88. goose121

    goose1219 oy oldin

    Okay but when you offer somebody 100 pineapples they are more likely to respond "What? What the heck am I going to do with 100 pineapples? Can I just have like, 2? Maybe 3?" The fact is, people will take enough of things to satisfy their needs, but not more than that (unless they can sell the extra because under capitalism they need to have money in order to get what they need in the future)

  89. Corona light

    Corona light9 oy oldin

    My sister works in a hospital and said if your a organ donor and are near death doctors don’t try as hard to help you survive because your organs worth more to them than you are.

  90. Clint S.

    Clint S.9 oy oldin

    inequality is ok

  91. Yoni Krotenberg

    Yoni Krotenberg9 oy oldin

    in Israel, if you have an Organ Donor card then you get ahead in the line for a donation, if you willing to give you are more likely to get

  92. cherryclan1

    cherryclan19 oy oldin

    Then there’s the flip side where the hospital actually puts pressure on the families of patients whose death would meet the criteria for organ donation to remove them from life support. There are some disturbing stories about this. Hospitals make good money from the surgeries involved.

  93. TurtleSauceGaming

    TurtleSauceGaming9 oy oldin

    Why not, rather than an open market, incentive organ donation by providing monetary contribution to those who offer themselves as organ donors upon death, not to the individual, but to the estate, helping with funeral costs, debt payments, etc.

  94. Kuribo Kutsu

    Kuribo Kutsu9 oy oldin

    I think its disallowed to "pay for organs" not just because this will cause "rich lives, poor dies", but also because of illegal "organ ripping". Black market for organs already exists. Cases of "you wake up in ice with one kidney less" is real (yet rare). Or other possibility - poor peoples selling their organs for money...that a grim future. Anyway, transplantation sucks. That we really need to do is experiment with cells, genes, grow artificial organs or go full fledged cyborgs!

  95. Sleeve

    Sleeve9 oy oldin

    Breed humans specifically for organ harvest. problem solved! Morality be damned 🙃🙃

  96. Evan Dugas

    Evan Dugas9 oy oldin

    We could do a system where the state buys organs people are willing to sell. It would still be unequal with poorer people being put in a place where they can sell there organs and exploit them but it would bring down the waiting list.

  97. Wings-Of-Gaming 9

    Wings-Of-Gaming 99 oy oldin

    Genetically Manufactured Organs.

  98. Asher Kobin

    Asher Kobin9 oy oldin

    Doesn't sound broken, It sounds like "the best possible that is acceptable"

  99. Dwight House

    Dwight House9 oy oldin

    Put me down for wanting to save more lives at the expense of "equality". Equality doesn't exist and never will, so there is no loss in not achieving the impossible. To say nothing of the fact that in uncompensated organ donation schemes, the person who gives up their organ is literally the only person involved in making the procedure happen that is not being paid, unlike the doctors, nurses, transportation specialists, hospital staff, and so on.

  100. Amal Irfan KC

    Amal Irfan KC9 oy oldin

    This makes one thing clear. *You don't want an organ failure,* so live healthy.

  101. Comrade Dyatlov

    Comrade Dyatlov9 oy oldin

    Come here to South Africa where organ transplants are free at public hospitals. Obviously there's a large waiting list, but it's still 100% free

  102. M@tt

    M@tt9 oy oldin

    I want a pineapple.

  103. John K Lindgren

    John K Lindgren9 oy oldin

    *BTW! Wendover MBA Dudes! You should NOT have used the PINEAPPLE or ANANAS **1:19** as the Free World calls it, since it according to a LANCET 2009 article induces it THe HAIRY TONGUE SYNDROME and ACIDITY as side effects. Same goes for the popular PINEAPPLE JUICE served FREE at hotels. Please refrain from drinking it. Bangkok-Johnnie the Jumper*

  104. John K Lindgren

    John K Lindgren9 oy oldin

    *Sutt Yooot! As we say In Thailand. Merci infiniment. Johnnie de Bangkok*