Sometimes when people face tough times, they must begin selling assets. Matters can become increasingly difficult as those assets become increasingly personal. Nicholas Colas is the chief market strategist for New York-based ConvergEx Group. He recently made an interesting and disturbing observation about what many American workers are searching for on the Internet, as reported by Victoria Stilwell (“Body Parts for Sale by Desperate U.S. Workers” Bloomberg Businessweek, 10/21/13–10/27/13, pp. 22–24):
“In all but two quarters since the beginning of 2011, ‘hair,’ ‘eggs,’ and ‘kidney’ have been among the top four autofill results for the Google search query, ‘I want to sell my . . .’” (p. 22)
Although the hair and the eggs can be sold legally in the US, kidneys cross the line. Regardless, this data reveals the desperation of some workers in our nation. I hate to see anyone being in that situation, but at least if they are, the Internet facilitates the needed connections. As with so much commerce, the Internet has enhanced the opportunities. Gary Becker, a University of Chicago economics professor, affirms this dynamic:
“The Internet is responsible for much of the increased interest in cashing in on body parts.” (p. 24)
So, what body part will we decide to sell next? I hesitate to even ponder the possibilities. We all understand the proverbial, “you have to do what you have to do.” The economy has a long way to go for many. In the meantime, let’s just hope we don’t use the Internet to sell our soul.