2013, ribbon, canvas paint and wood. 360(h) x 525(w) x 20cm
As installed in the foyer of the Science Building EA6 at Macquarie University, Sydney , Australia
I’m thinking about the way the market operates for a person who produces and sells their own blood or blood products and the possibility of similarities to the manner of operation of the markets for agricultural products . In particular the idea of being a price taker not a price maker.
Price takers are defined as those whose market activities have limited impact on the market. Their sales are so small it’s hard to notice whether they are in or out of the market. On the other hand a single player, even if large, is also hard to notice when in a crowded market
In Australia the reaction of many farmers and graziers to the lack of control inherent in being a price taker was to organise into larger groups to negotiate for higher prices for their produce. This doesn’t seem to have happened with people who produce and sell thier own blood.
In many countries only blood that is donated goes into the transfusion market. It is generally believed that donated blood has a higher probability of its risks of disease etc being closer to those described in the forms filled out by the producer i.e. someone who donates who has had a disease or exposure to risk in their past is more likely to reveal it.
Blood products however such a plasma, openly operate in different manner even in countries where the focus is on non monetary payment or reward for the producer supplying their blood or blood products.( usually called donation). There has been a rise in US websites suggesting the selling of plasma as a way of bringing extra money into a household. One site suggested it could be up to $220 US a month. This is an excerpt from a website giving tips on how to get some fast cash . Tip number three on the list was
3. Give blood.
Some plasma banks pay up to $35 per pint. In the United States, federal regulations state that an individual may donate two times in a seven day period, with a minimum of two days in between donations. DonatingPlasma.org provides details and a searchable plasma-bank database to help you find a plasma bank in your area.
Since 2005 the US Bureau of Labor Statistics has constructed price indexes for Blood and Organ Banks . This index category is described by the BLS as measuring the price change associated with providing a specific set of services related to the collection, storage, and distribution of blood and blood products and the storage and distribution of body organs.
It is not clear that this index must deal with payment to the producer, but as it is based on what hospitals are charged for these products you could presume those payments have been included but not described.
Anyway economics is interesting (gasp) and it is going to be interesting to see how this thinking impacts on my artwork. Comments and inputs please.