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Why Some Things Should Not Be for Sale

Un libro in lingua di Debra Satz edito da Oxford Univ Pr on Demand, 2010

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"Why not put everything up for sale---shoes and sex, cars and kidneys, BlackBerrys and babies? Drawing on history and philosophy, economics and sociology. Why Some Things Should Not Be for Sale presents a powerful defense of a bracing answer to this question. According to Debra Satz, we can have markets for everything or we can have a democratic society, but we cannot have both. Satz's argument is subtle, rich, and complex, but in the end, the choice she presents us with is that simple."---Joshua Cohen, Professor of Law, Political Science, and Philosophy, Stanford University

"This is a major accomplishment, and a compelling study for everyone interested in exploring the moral limits of markets. Satz seamlessly integrates moral reflection with concrete studies of how specific markets actually work. She provides an outstanding model of how empirically responsible moral inquiry should be conducted."---Elizabeth Anderson, John Rawls Collegiate Professor of Philosophy and Women's Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

"In the modern world markets are central to our lives. We sell our labor and buy the goods and services we want. Markets can lead to economically efficient outcomes that could not be reached by other means. But markets have their limits. As Debra Satz points out, we reject markets in child labor, organs, votes, or human beings, among other things. Sometimes we reject markets because they are inefficient. But, Satz argues, efficiency is not the only value in play, for markets affect `who we are, how we relate to each other and what sort of society we can have.' Markets, Satz demonstrates, are far too important to be left to economists. In this masterful work, the culmination of many years of thought, Satz provides a highly original framework to assist our reflections on which markets are beneficial and which, as she puts it, are `noxious.'"---Jonathan Wolff, Professor of Philosophy, University College London

"Our intuitive reaction that there are some trades that should not be made has received little understanding from economic analysis. Satz has greatly clarified the issues by making clear the social role that markets play, both in their own performance and in their consequences. She is discriminating in her analysis, pointing out the markets may sometimes contribute to the achievement of broader social values and better interactions while at other times they may reinforce bad consequences. This is 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."---Kenneth J. Arrow, Nobel Laureate in Economics, Stanford University

What's wrong with markets in everything? Markets today are widely recognized as the most efficient way in general to organize production and distribution in a complex economy. With the collapse of communism and rise of globalization, it's no surprise that markets and the political theories supporting them have seen a considerable resurgence. For many, markets are an all-purpose remedy for the deadening effects of bureaucracy and state control. But what about those markets we might label noxious---markets in addictive drugs, say, or in sex, weapons, child labor, or human organs? Such markets arouse widespread discomfort and often revulsion.

In Why Some Things Should Not Be for Sale, philosopher Debra Satz takes a critical look at those commodity exchanges that strike most of us as problematic. What considerations, she asks, ought to guide the debates about such markets? What is it about a market involving prostitution or the sale of kidneys that makes it morally objectionable? How is a market in weapons or pollution different than a market in soybeans or automobiles? Are laws and social policies banning the more noxious markets necessarily the best responses to them? Satz contends that categories previously used by philosophers and economists are of limited utility in addressing such questions because they have assumed markets 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 particular markets shape our culture, foster or thwart human development, and

An accessibly written work that will engage not only philosophers but also political scientists, economists, legal scholars, and public policy experts, this book is a significant contribution to ongoing discussions about the place of markets in a democratic society.

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