posted on Mar, 19 2005 @ 10:04 AM
Well, for starters I just want to comment on the fact that I am just about the hugest Larry Niven fan (and have been for quite some time), and that
this thread will more than likely be dripping with references. Don't let that dissuade you from reading though, please!
First off, an organ bank is just that... A place to store organs.
In his Known Space timeline of stories and novels, there is a period in future human history where organ banks are in wide use. Mainly they are used
as a means of sentencing for committing a crime. If you murder someone and are caught, you get sent to the organ banks where your organs can save
lives to help replace those you have taken. Though this spirals out of hand, and it ends up being used for sentencing for nearly all crimes. So, for
all intensive purposes, people are being harvested for any misdeeds that they may have done. For example, having too many moving violations in your
car could result in you being sentenced for the organ banks.
The result? A very obediant society, and for those who can live long enough in safety, a very long life. Now nothing seems wrong with that on the
surface, but think of all the personal liberties that people would be striped of. Also, a lot of chances to make simple mistakes (like having too many
moving violations) would be gone too.
Now, I don't really see humanity heading towards this end, but it is nevertheless still a possibility. There seems to be a big push for people to
donate thier organs when they die, and there are always shortages of organs and blood. So if laws were introduced to start of a process like that in
Larry Niven books I feel with would slowly gain momentum until it became a nearly unstoppable force.
I have a solution to the problem, before it could even become a problem though. One would be to create biologically engineered animals to replace some
organs, which begins the downfall of the organ banks. I don't think that that is quite in our grasps yet. On the other hand, cloning is. If cloning
were allowed, in order to create new parts for people it would dampen the need or storing away body parts. They could be created on need. And not
necessarily cloning of each person, but just for the different blood types and whatever else deals with rejection of organs.
Now you may think that the cost of doing something like cloning may get in the way. Well, compared to the organ banks I think it would end up being
much cheaper, as well as having a positive effect on society. Yeah, at first the research and the production of organs would be rather expensive and
hard to do, but over time the costs would go down (just like anything else being produced.) That would rid of the need for policing people, which if
needed as with the organ banks, would be an astronomical cost. Also, people wouldn't need feel remorse about having an organ placed in them from
someone who may not have needed to recieve such a harsh punishment.