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The Absurdity of "Undue Inducement"

Have you heard that it's "unethical" to pay people for janitorial work?  After all, the poor have greater need of money, and so would be more likely than the rich to take up such an offer.  To protect them from this "undue inducement", we should outlaw payment for janitorial work, and hope that enough (preferably middle-class) folks volunteer in their stead that we aren't wallowing in filth.  Sure, we can predict that things will be a bit filthier as a result, but it's worth this social cost to protect the poor from janitorial jobs.  I'm sure that our current janitors would appreciate being put out of work, right?Bioethicists seem to treat this notion of "undue inducement" as a very serious ethical objection to allowing financial incentives for medical research participation, kidney donations, and other pro-social but individually-costly medical activities.  I'm not sure whether anyone really believes it, or if it's just something that people say in order to appear "serious" since there is at any rate a generally-recognized norm by which you can signal your moral seriousness and egalitarian bona fides by insisting that we must under no circumstances allow the poor new ways to earn more money.  Either way, I've always found this completely daft.  Obviously, the reason why the poor would be more likely to take up the offer is because they benefit more from the financial reward.  That is, it's more likely to constitute a [More]

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