Friday, August 7, 2009

Ticker Trade (DS)

We had a dream……and in that dream we found ourselves hidden in the shadows near a second level banister that offered an unobstructed view of the active trading floor below and a panoramic ticker tape above. The open outcries reverberating from down in the pit were jumbled and chaotic, yet clearly influenced the ticker symbols as they scrolled along without delay.

First glance led us to believe we were observing a typical work day at the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), but something was amiss. The surprising sight of rabbi traders peppered throughout the pit seemed highly unusual.

It was then we noticed the large gold-plated letters affixed to the wall above the trading room floor which read: RED SHIELD ORGAN TRANSPLANT EXCHANGE (ROTEX). The signage was positioned underneath an emblematic logo displaying a golden medical Caduceus centered in the reverse on an ornate Red Shield.

We inaudibly gasped upon realizing we were really somewhere in New Jersey watching an unsanctioned commodities market trade in body parts on the world market.

As the symbols continued their repetitious flow across the ticker, we began to piece the parts together and the first piece belonged to black market capitalism. Heartless profiteering resounded throughout the pit below as kidneys, livers, pancreases, hearts, lungs, eyes, appendages, bones, skin grafts, and even soft tissues were being traded, hedged, arbitraged, forwarded, and futured for obscene under-the-surgical-table profits.

Our dream ticked along as many of the dark secrets surrounding ROTEX and its membership roster were unmasked. Member traders had been covertly cultivated and sponsored by the guts and bowels of health insurance heavyweights, and admittance didn’t come cheap. Although membership proved to be extremely expensive, cost was secondary to the covenant of absolute secrecy, and all members were blood-bound for life to a “Skull and Bones” code of silence.

The rise of ROTEX had naturally spawned the unquestionable need for a highly sophisticated organ matchmaker rating system similar to that of other legitimate commodities markets, and the “Serpent Index” was unrivaled in its ability to grade donor quality, provide organ inventory stats and harvest projections, and rate body part pools for securitizing.

And then we woke up and understood that when it comes down to the business of selling a person's body parts, society’s moral line seems to be drawn at “if it can’t grow back, it can’t be sold”. However, the indisputable human instinct for survival can sadly provoke those facing serious financial challenges to cross that moral line when desperation dominates, even if it means survival minus a part.

But what we really want to know is did those organ brokers first cut out and trade in their own hearts before turning to profit on the illicit innards of human beings in dire straits?

For the price of protection, see our ‘In The Rear View Mirror’ July 30, 2009 posting "The Sopranos Return for Another Season on HMO".

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