Desperation for tech too extreme

Desperation for tech too extreme (credit: Juan Fernandez/Staff Artist) Desperation for tech too extreme (credit: Juan Fernandez/Staff Artist)
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It’s safe to say that people here at Carnegie Mellon adore their technology. However, a teenager in China who sold an organ for an iPhone and an iPad may have surpassed any Apple fanatic here.

On April 6, reports of the story broke from Chenzhou, a city in China’s Hunan province. A teenager with the surname Wang wanted an iPhone and an iPad. The black market wanted a kidney. Five people helped 17-year-old Wang surgically remove his kidney.

This black market deal was a clean-cut procedure. It wasn’t as though a handful of felons carved out his kidney with a pocketknife; there was a professional on board.This group included a practicing doctor in addition to criminals, such as transplant organizer He Wei, who turned to crime after accumulating gambling debts. The group is currently being charged with “intentional injury.”

The procedure collected 220,000 yuan, approximately $35,000. Wei distributed the money amongst the accomplices and medical officials who helped with the procedure. Wang received 22,000 yuan, approximately $3,500, in exchange for his kidney.

Exchanging an organ for cash is simply stupid, especially when the reason is to buy an iPhone and an iPad. Under special, extreme circumstances, selling an organ could be justified. But selling a kidney to satisfy the need to keep up with the latest technology trend is not a necessity, and it’s definitely not worth the medical risk.

Besides, what happens when the iPhone 5 comes out? There are only so many organs to go around for Apple products.

As shocking as it seems that someone would just sell his kidney in order to keep up with new technology, the most mind-blowing part of this story is the fact that Wang only received 10 percent of the profits from selling his kidney.

He was completely ripped off. Obviously he can’t cut labor costs, but in the grand scheme of things, to receive such a small amount for such a huge procedure is not quite fair. Sure $3,500 is enough to pay for the iPhone and the iPad, and still have plenty of cash left over for fun Apple accessories, but is that really enough to suffice for the loss of a perfectly healthy kidney?

The moral of the story is that if you’re going to sell your kidney, be smart and demand more for it — just kidding.

The real moral of the story is that desperation for the latest and greatest technology is unhealthy.

Wang’s desire for Apple products is an example of extreme consumerism, and it represents the extent to which people try to keep up with the latest fad.

Wang physically harmed himself to keep up with technology trends, and in the process, he lost a kidney, a deal, and his dignity.