Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Monday, June 27, 2005

Plastination, Corpses, and Art

Would you be willing to donate your body (or that of a parent or spouse [after their death, Jack]) to German anatomist Gunther von Hagens to use in his art projects?

Plastination, invented ... in 1978, is a process that replaces water and other fluids with plastic, preserving dead tissue indefinitely without odour.
He does this with cadavers and calls it art. And quite successfully.

Body Worlds 2, which features some 200 plastinated cadavers and body parts, will run at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto from Sept. 30 until Feb. 26, 2006.

... In the past decade, more than 17 million people around the world have seen the show and its predecessor, Body Worlds 1. In several cities, museums and science centres presenting the display were forced to extend viewing hours to accommodate the demand.

... Medical ethicists have decried the exhibit as a crass, commercial exploitation of the human body. Nevertheless, the Body Worlds shows are reported to have grossed about $200-million worldwide.
Von Hagens grosses over $200m from donated bodies. Do you think suppliers might start raising the price above zero once knowledge of his gross receipts becomes more widespread? Or is the quantity supplied at a zero price so large he will not have to start paying for them.

I'm thinking of specifying in my will that von Hagen and the medical schools can have a bidding war for my body, subject to a minimum reserve bid set by my heirs.

Or, in the present, do you think e-bay would accept this item for auction?
There are none listed there as I write this. Why not? It's just a forward contract.
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