2nd Edition

Markets without Limits Moral Virtues and Commercial Interests

By Jason F. Brennan, Peter Jaworski Copyright 2022
    362 Pages
    by Routledge

    362 Pages
    by Routledge

    May you sell your spare kidney? May gay men pay surrogates to bear them children? Should we allow betting markets on terrorist attacks and natural disasters? May spouses pay each other to do the dishes, watch the kids, or have sex? Should we allow the rich to genetically engineer gifted, beautiful children? May you ever sell your vote?

    Most people—and many philosophers—shudder at these questions. To put some goods and services for sale offends human dignity. If everything is commodified, then nothing is sacred. The market corrodes our character.

    In this expanded second edition of Markets without Limits, Jason Brennan and Peter M. Jaworski say it is now past time to give markets a fair hearing. The market does not, the authors claim, introduce wrongness where there was not any previously. Thus, the question of what rightfully may be bought and sold has a simple answer: if you may do it for free, you may do it for money. Contrary to the conservative consensus, Brennan and Jaworski claim there are no inherent limits to what can be bought and sold, but only restrictions on how we buy and sell.

    Key Updates and Revisions to the Second Edition:

    • Includes revised introductory chapters to further clarify what’s at stake in the commodification debate.
    • Provides easier-to-follow chapters on semiotic objections, stronger analyses of these objections, and more evidence of these objections’ widespread pervasiveness.
    • Offers cogent responses to several recent papers that have raised counterexamples to the authors’ thesis.
    • Includes new empirical evidence on the ways markets sometimes crowd in virtue and altruism.
    • Analyzes the topics of blackmail and "associative" objections to markets.
    • Includes new material on issues surrounding exploitation and coercion, selling citizenship, residency rights, and arguments about "dignity" as objections to markets.  

    Part I: Should Everything Be for Sale?

    1. Are There Some Things Money Should Not Buy?

    2. If You May Do It for Free, You May Do It for Money

    3. A Taxonomy of Possible Objections

    4. It’s the How, Not the What

    Part II: Do Markets Signal Disrespect?

    5. Semiotic Objections

    6. The Mere Commodity Objection

    7. The Wrong Signal and Wrong Currency Objections

    8. Objections: Semiotic Essentialism, Minding Our Manners, and What It Says When You Buy Love

    Part III: Do Markets Corrupt?

    9. The Corruption Objection

    10. How to Make a Sound Corruption Objection

    11. The Selfishness Objection

    12. The Crowding Out Objection

    13. The Surprising Truth about Blood Markets: How Paying for Blood Crowds In Altruism

    14. The Immoral Preference Objection

    15. The Low Quality Objection

    16. The Civics Objection

    Part IV: The Other Big Objections

    17. Objections Solved by Market Design

    18. Exploitation, Sweatshops, and the Living Wage

    19. Consent, Desperation, and Coercion

    20. Line Up for Expensive Equality!

    21. Baby Buying: Adoption Rights and Designer Babies

    22. Selling Civics: Vote Markets and Citizenship

    23. Blackmail, Threats, and What We Owe to Each Other for Free

    24. Associative Objections: Should We Boycott More People?

    Part V: Debunking Intuitions

    25. Anti-Market Attitudes Are Resilient

    26. Dignity, Schmignity

    27. Where Do Anti-Market Attitudes Come From?

    28. The Pseudo-Morality of Disgust

    29. Postscript


    Jason Brennan is the Flanagan Family Professor of Ethics, Economics, and Public Policy at Georgetown University. He is the author of 15 books, including Debating Democracy (2021), Why It’s OK to Want to Be Rich (2020), Cracks in the Ivory Tower (2019), and When All Else Fails (2018). 

    Peter Jaworski  is an Associate Teaching Professor at Georgetown University, teaching Ethical Values of Business to undergraduates and Ethical Leadership to MBAs and Executive MBAs. He was a Visiting Research Professor at Brown University, a Visiting Assistant Professor at the College of Wooster, and an Instructor at Bowling Green State University.