Markets without Limits: Moral Virtues and Commercial Interests

book coverFinished Markets Without Limits: Moral Virtues and Commercial Interests. Toying with writing a full book review so will wait on saying too much here.

The book takes aim at anti-commodification theorists and stakes out two claims: (1) if you may do it for free, you may do it for money, and (2) there are no inherent limits to what can be bought and sold, but only restrictions on how we buy and sell. If the anti-commodification theorists really are essentialists about markets (that is, think that, no matter what, in all possible worlds, markets are corrupting, bad, etc.), then Jason and Peter present some problems they need to respond to (though some of the arguments against essentialism are better than others. That in some cultures men leave money on the pillows of the women they’ve just had sex with is expected and it’s failing to leave money that’s a sign of disrespect might not be such a great example of money operating well. I suspect gender relations in that context aren’t what feminists are hoping for). However, if anti-commodification theorists are instead objecting to markets in the world we currently live in, given all its imperfections, it strikes me that the most this book can say is something like “well, maybe they’re bad now, but then we should change those conditions because markets can actually do some good.” Fair enough but I hardly think that a devastating critique of those scholars.

That said, I do think they are pointing out some common mistaken critiques of markets that are in certain need of being pointed out and corrected.

And I’ve already said too much!

1 thought on “Markets without Limits: Moral Virtues and Commercial Interests

  1. Peter Jaworski (@petermjaworski)

    Hi Heather –

    Thank you for reading (and posting about) our book!

    For what it’s worth, I hope you do put together a full book review. I’d like to hear your opinion, and would love an opportunity to respond to specific arguments that you might have against one or another of our views.




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