Why Some Things Should Not be for Sale: The Moral Limits of Markets

ISBN : 9780199892617

Debra Satz
272 Pages
153 x 234 mm
Pub date
Apr 2012
Oxford Political Philosophy
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For many, markets are the most efficient way in general to organize production and distribution in a complex economy. But what about those markets we might label noxious-markets in addictive drugs, say, or in sex? In Why Some Things Should Not Be for Sale, philosopher Debra Satz takes a penetrating look at those commodity exchanges that strike most of us as problematic. What considerations, she asks, ought to guide the debates about such markets? Satz contends that categories previously used by philosophers and economists are of limited use in addressing such markets because they are assumed to be homogenous. Accordingly, she offers a broader and more nuanced view of markets-one that goes beyond the usual discussions of efficiency and distributional equality-to show how markets shape our culture, foster or thwart human development, and create and support structures of power. Nobel Laureate Kenneth J. Arrow calls this book "a work that will have to be studied and taken account of by all those concerned by the role of the market as compared with other social mechanisms."


Part I
1. What Do Markets Do?
Part II
2. The Changing Visions of Economics
3. The Market's Place and Scope in Contemporary Egalitarian Political Theory
4. Noxious Markets
Part III
5. Markets in Women's Reproductive Labor
6. Markets in Women's Sexual Labor
7. Child Labor: A Normative Perspective
8. Voluntary Slavery and the Limits of the Market
9. Ethical Issues in The Supply and Demand of Human Kidneys

About the author: 

Debra Satz is Marta Sutton Weeks Professor of Ethics in Society and Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University.

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