Tuesday, August 03, 2010

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

Debra Satz, Why Some Things Should Not Be for Sale: The Moral Limits of Markets, looks like a really good read.  This link leads to the introductory chapter, via Google Books.

She has the useful idea of noxious markets, which have one or more of the following characteristics:
* vulnerability (must take whatever bargain you're offered because cannot afford not to)
* weak agency (poor information or influence on economic decisions)
* extremely harmful outcomes for individuals (contract killings, for example)
* extremely harmful outcomes for society (vote buying, for example)

In such cases, she discusses alternatives such as blocking the market or alleviating the problems that arise.

1 comment:

Joanna said...

Because as we all know, libertarians want to legalize contract killings and vote buying. How convenient! Libertarianism refuted!

Markets are just derivative of private property. If you really own something, you can do with it what you want, as long as you don't invade private property of others. Selling a thing you own is never such an invasion, hence free markets, but only of things that can actually be owned.

So you walk up to a guy and tell him he cannot sell his property because you believe he is "vulnerable" and/or has "poor information". So obviously he thanks you very much for your input but can you please f.. o... However, as a statist, you will come back, to "regulate" the sale of his property, this time with other guys with guns, for his own good...

A contract to kill cannot be owned because killing is an invasion of private property of others, so not enforceable by any court, libertarian or not.

Vote buying, this is internal matter of entity that organizes the vote. When government organizes a vote, it is the owner of the vote process, so it makes all the rules, it has nothing to do with morals.