Markets without Limits: Moral Virtues and Commercial Interests

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9780415737357: Markets without Limits: Moral Virtues and Commercial Interests

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

Most people shudder at the thought. To put some goods and services for sale offends human dignity. If everything is commodified, then nothing is sacred. The market corrodes our character. Or so most people say.

In Markets without Limits, Jason Brennan and Peter Jaworski give markets a fair hearing. The market does not introduce wrongness where there was not any previously. Thus, the authors claim, 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, they claim there are no inherent limits to what can be bought and sold, but only restrictions on how we buy and sell.

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About the Author:

Jason Brennan is Associate Professor of Strategy, Economics, Ethics, and Public Policy at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, and, by courtesy, Associate Professor of Philosophy. He is the author of Why Not Capitalism? (Routledge, 2014), Compulsory Voting: For and Against, with Lisa Hill (2014), Libertarianism: What Everyone Needs to Know (2012), The Ethics of Voting (2011), and A Brief History of Liberty, with David Schmidtz (2010).

Peter Jaworski is Assistant Teaching Professor of Strategy, Economics, Ethics, and Public Policy at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. Prior to joining the faculty at Georgetown, Peter was Visiting Research Professor at Brown University’s Political Theory Project. He is a senior fellow with the Canadian Constitution Foundation and serves on the Board of Directors of the Institute for Liberal Studies.

Review:

"...as informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking. An inherently absorbing and innately fascinating read from beginning to end..."
- Midwest Book Review

"Brennan and Jaworski make an effort to unravel the often unstructured and emotional objections of anti-commodification theorists in order to make them accessible for a rational discussion. They convincingly push forward the point that in many respects opponents of markets simply lack the empirical evidence for the claims they are making... Brennan and Jaworski's writing is pleasantly clear and their humor makes the book an entertaining read." - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice

"[Markets without Limits is a] tour de force of philosophical argument that leaves the opponents' camp routed and the ground strewn with gauntlets thrown down in challenge... it will be a long time before we see another book that so wonderfully blends philosophy with public policy as Markets without Limits."
- Regulation, Cato Institute


"Giving away morally significant goods and services is fine, even noble, but selling them is wrong. Jason Brennan and Peter M. Jaworski's book is a welcome challenge to this view."
- Notre Dame Philosophical Review

"the book is a pleasure to read and very though-provoking. I predict it will lead to a much higher level of debate about commodification in coming years."- Herbert Gintis, Central European University, Hungary

"There are many books on the morality of commerce and market commoditization, but this one is better than the others. It is better argued, penetrates into the issues more deeply, and most of all it is right."

Tyler Cowen, George Mason University, USA

"What I found remarkable is their effort to consider, and answer, objections in a way that recognizes that many of the objections have considerable merit, at least on their own terms. But the answers are still persuasive. An indispensable volume for those interested in applied philosophy and policy."

Michael C. Munger, Duke University, USA

"Brennan and Jaworski have produced the best and most straightforward critique of the 'commodification' critics and should be on every social science and humanities professor shelf."

Peter Boettke, George Mason University, USA

"This is one of the most important books published this century. Every library should have a copy. Despite its theoretical sophistication Markets without Limits is witty, irreverent, and extremely engaging, and so is readily accessible to undergraduates."

J.S. Taylor, College of New Jersey, CHOICE

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