As the recession deepens, more Americans appear to be doing what many poor people have long done in India: sell body fluids and parts. ABC News reports that companies that buy and sell blood have noticed a rise in donations, and some of them are offering novel incentives. For example, a blood bank in California, where unemployment is 9.3 per cent, is arranging for career counselling.
Thirty people from around Silicon Valley who gave blood on Thursday also received interview tips, and advice on their resumes, ABC News said.
“It was definitely like: Give blood, get your resume critiqued... that works for me,” Steve Koehler, an out-of-work accountant from San Jose, told the network’s local affiliate.
Americans are also selling their semen, ovaries, even hair. The going rates, according to ABC News, are $200 for sperm, up to $2,000 for a yard of hair and $7,000 to more than $10,000 for ovaries. How bad are things?
“The only two experiences that are remotely close to what we are going through are the Great Depression and Japan’s lost decade,” says Ken Goldstein, an economist with the Conference Board, which produces the Consumer Confidence Index and other indicators.
It’s not just a matter of metrics like the unemployment rate, Goldstein said at a Foreign Press Centre briefing last week. Business, consumer and investor confidence are at an all-time low “because we never expected to be here.” And the loss of confidence is part of the reason for the intensity of the recession. But Goldstein is optimistic.
He said Eisuke Sakakibara, an economist and former vice minister, had looked at what Japan did in the 1990s and concluded that his country should have done more and done it sooner.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and other officials, Goldstein said, are following the Sakakibara rule: Do more, not less. “If it takes more money, throw more money at it,” he said.
President Barack Obama, who has made tackling the crisis his top priority, was expected to name a watchdog for stimulus spending on Monday. His choice, according to the Associated Press, is Earl Devaney, a former Secret Service agent who helped expose lobbyists’ corruption at the Interior Department.