Through associating ‘profit’ with selfishness or even dishonesty, many people exclude market incentives from the pool of acceptable solutions for any given problem. Economics professor Bryan Caplan calls this “Anti-Market Bias.” Markets, however, incentivise people to find new and creative ways of solving problems, many of which never could have been predicted in advance.
If society has an Anti-Market Bias, society might not consider every possible solution to its problems. In this video, Professor of Economics Bryan Caplan says laws against human organ sales are an example of Anti-Market Bias. The example goes:
Thousands of people suffer and even perish in the US every year due to a shortage in kidney donors. As in most countries, it is illegal to compensate donors in the US for donating a kidney. If, however, a potential donor could be paid for her kidney through a reputable hospital, she might be more willing to donate and save a life. A market in kidneys would save lives.
Even in this example, Professor Caplan says that your opinion may be influenced by how well you understand how markets function. In fact, while most non-economists have strong feelings against kidney markets, most professional economists think human organ markets might be key to saving lives and improving the well-being of both potential donors and wait-listed patients.
Caplan introduces other examples that might be inside your own area of expertise: Have you ever looked at them through the eyes of an economist? Can you think of other issues and areas where Anti-Market Bias keeps possible solutions off the table?