Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter October 6, 2015

In Defense of Commodification

Jason Brennan and Peter Jaworski

Abstract

We aim to show anti-commodification theorists that their complaints about the scope of the market are exaggerated. There are we agree things that should not be bought and sold but that’s only because they are things people shouldn’t have or do or exchange in the first place. Beyond that we argue there are legitimate moral worries about how we buy trade and sell but no legitimate worries about what we buy trade and sell. In almost every interesting case where they have argued markets are morally impermissible on the contrary we argue such markets are permissible. Where they see the market as having a fundamentally amoral ethos or as tending to corrupt us we see it as moral and morally ameliorative. Where they think the solution is to contract the market we think the solution is to expand it.

References

Anderson, Elizabeth. 1990. “Is Women’s Labor a Commodity?” Philosophy and Public Affairs 19: 71–92.Search in Google Scholar

Anderson, Elizabeth. 1995. Value in Ethics and Economics. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Anderson, Elizabeth. 2000. “Why Commercial Surrogate Motherhood Unethically Commodifies Women and Children: Reply to McLachlan and Swales,” Health Care Analysis 8: 19–26.Search in Google Scholar

Barber, Benjamin. 2008. Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantalize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole. New York: W.W. Norton and Co.Search in Google Scholar

Brennan, Jason, and Peter Jaworski. 2015a. “Markets without Symbolic Limits,” Ethics 125: 1053–1077.Search in Google Scholar

Brennan, Jason, and Peter Jaworksi. 2015b. Markets without Limits. New York: Routledge Press.Search in Google Scholar

Cohen, G. A. 2009. Why Not Socialism? Princeton: Princeton University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Grant, Ruth. 2012. Strings Attached: Untangling the Ethics of Incentives. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Gwartney, James, Lawson, Robert, and Joshua Hall. 2012. Economic Freedom of the World: 2012 Annual Report. Vancouver: Fraser Institute.Search in Google Scholar

Jamieson, Alistair. 2009. “Brain-Eating Tribe Could Help Find Treatment for Mad Cow Disease,” The Telegraph Nov 19, 2009. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/papuanewguinea/6603676/Brain-eating-tribe-could-help-find-treatment-for-mad-cow-disease.htmlSearch in Google Scholar

Jaworski, Peter, and Jason Brennan. 2015. “Market Architecture: It’s the How, Not the What,” Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy 15: 231–250.Search in Google Scholar

Murray, Charles. 2012. Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960–2010. New York: Crown Forum.Search in Google Scholar

Radin, Margaret Jane. 1997. “Market-Inalienability,” Harvard Law Review 100: 1849–1937.Search in Google Scholar

Radin, Margaret Jane. 2000. Contested Commodities. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Ritzer, George. 2012. The McDonaldization of Society: 20th Anniversary Edition. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Search in Google Scholar

Sandel, Michael. 2012. What Money Can’t Buy. New York: Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux.Search in Google Scholar

Satz, Debra. 2010. Why Some Things Should Not Be for Sale. New York: Oxford.Search in Google Scholar

Satz, Debra. 2011. Econtalk interview with Russ Roberts, accessed August 21, 2015. http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2011/08/satz_on_markets.htmlSearch in Google Scholar

Skidelsky, Robert, and Skidelsky, Edward. 2013. How Much Is Enough: Money and the Good Life. New York: Other Press.Search in Google Scholar

Stevenson, Betsy, and Justin Wolfers. 2008. “Economic Growth and Subjective Well-Being: Reassessing the Easterlin Paradox,” Brookings Papers on Economic Activity 39: 1–102.Search in Google Scholar

Tomasi, John. 2012. Free Market Fairness. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Published Online: 2015-10-06
Published in Print: 2015-11-01

©2015 by De Gruyter