LessWrong has a short discussion of the value of donating a kidney. I had previously read that selling kidneys was legal in Iran, and wondered how much they cost. When I searched, I found this article which seems a nice quick review of the kidney markets around the world.
So a kidney, price includes installation, is as low as $6,316 in the Philippines and as high as $85,000 in the United States. It looks to be a pretty inefficient world market, driven by the very different situations around the world, and probably by the very weird and expensive way that the U.S. pays for health care.
On the one hand, I'm not actually sure people should be allowed to sell their own kidneys. On the other hand, I'm not actually sure people should be allowed to starve. Until I start intervening against starvation, I don't think I support intervening against kidney sales.
Would you go to the Philippines to get a kidney if you needed one? I think I would. Unless I could get my insurance company to get me an $85,000 "U.S. legal" kidney for free.
Markets in Everything is, by the way, stolen joyously from Professor Mark J Perry who writes one of the most informative economics blogs I could imagine. Visit his blog and you may be very happy you did. His blog is called Carpe Diem for no particular reason that I can figure out.