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Markets without Limits: Moral Virtues and Commercial Interests Paperback – Aug 27 2015

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (Aug. 27 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415737354
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415737357
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.4 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #209,947 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

"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

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.

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Format: Paperback
In this excellent book, Brennan and Jaworski tackle a highly-charged subject with dispassion, reason and creativity. They focus relentlessly on their thesis - if you may do it for free you may do it for money - always bringing the analysis back to that central argument. They address the obvious objections to each of their claims, and you may (as I did) find yourself reading a rebuttal to a counter-argument that you thought of while you were reading their case. The strongest parts of the book are probably the section on semiotics and disgust. In discussing semiotics, they use anthropological research to argue that inserting money into a relationship or a transaction has no objective meaning; it is purely a function of culture and therefore it is invalid to claim that money corrupts or degrades social bonds and relationships. In the latter, they argue that disgust is not a helpful tool to understand the world and that at worst it can cause tremendous harm, such as if it is the only remaining argument against organ markets that might save huge numbers of lives.

If you don't already agree with the thesis, I highly recommend this book. It is guaranteed to challenge your beliefs and, at the very least, to force you to think more carefully about them.

Full disclosure: I know Peter Jaworski personally and while I consider him a friend, this review reflects my sincere appreciation of his work. If I didn't think so highly of the finished product, I would have simply respected the adage that if you have nothing positive to say, say nothing.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a masterpiece.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear philosophical defense of markets May 1 2016
By Shawn Klein - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Markets Without Limits is a clear philosophical defense of the claim that there are no inherent limits to markets. What the authors Brennan and Jaworski (B&J) mean by this is that “if you may do it for free, then you may do it for money” (10). So, if you may possess water for free, you may also sell it. If you may have sex without paying for it, you may also buy it. Additionally, since you may not possess child pornography, you may not sell or buy it either. Since you may not murder for free, you may not murder for a price. These are not limits on the markets per se. They are limits on human behavior irrespective of markets.

The book is clear in two important ways. First, stylistically, it is written in a straightforward way. The chapters are relatively short: making them more focused and to the point. There is little in the way of jargon – and they make an effort to define carefully unavoidable technical verbiage.

Second, they make great effort to make sure that the arguments they are criticizing or advancing are presented as clearly and as logically as possible. I found myself frequently raising a concern or possible objection in the margins only to have that concern or objection discussed in the next paragraph or section. It got a little eerie at times—as if they were reading my mind!

They do a great job of presenting the anti-commodification arguments clearly and fairly. In fact, I think they do a better job of making the anti-commodification case than most of the anti-commodification theorists themselves. Their broad topology of the different criticisms helps to clarify and focus the arguments for these points and their criticisms.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Markets Without Limits Nov. 5 2015
By Walker Wright - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Brennan and Jaworski have written a remarkably rigorous book defending the thesis "If you may do it for free, you may do it for money." In it, they attack the underlying revulsion and biases against markets held by critics. The authors clarify the debate (hint: it's not about business ethics and it's not about regulation), rooting out fallacies and red herrings to get down to the actual claims of anti-commodification critics. Yet, what makes the book both powerful and useful is the clear, concise, and fair manner in which they describe their opponents' arguments. Multiple angles are addressed and core critical arguments are broken down, making the authors' logic and position all the more compelling and--after the irrelevant debris mentioned above is cleared away--somewhat obvious. Bolstering the authors' arguments is an immense amount of relevant social science. Whenever empirical claims are made (by either Brennan and Jaworski or market critics), evidence from studies in psychology, sociology, economics, and anthropology is presented and explained. Finally, the book provides a possible way in which to influence both liberals and conservatives to embrace policies that lead to more economic freedom.

Should be read by both friends and foes of the market.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars like most I know precious little of academic philosophy Nov. 12 2015
By Brendan Dooley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Admittedly, like most I know precious little of academic philosophy. Most of the oeuvre is written in stilted language hellbent on purposeful obfuscation, much like this sentence! What will prove to be an enduring virtue of the work is that it dispenses with academic verbiage and pretense. The work is written in a plainspoken tone, while managing not to not speak down the reader. In the long view the accessible writing style and the provocative claims made (and backed) will resonate with future generation of students.

The book essentially argues that if one removes from markets items that should be owned by no one, like nuclear weaponry, the objections to the sale of any given item--if it can be gifted away--ought to be eligible for purchase. The chapter on "semiotic" objections hammers this argument home. The book does not shrink from addressing a handful of the most resolute arguments against markets. The authors name names and rebut criticisms.

What adds immensely to the readability factor is the use of clarifying real world examples throughout. The social construction of markets in helping us determine the meaning of particular goods--sales of organs or adoption rights--is relevant to sociological discourse. Although it will earn a chilly reception there. Nevertheless, the authors' deft use of empirical evidence to overturn "sacred truths" captures the excitement that grows with a data driven philosophy. The examples they chose and various markets defended (voting markets!) ought to attract a well deserved reaction in the intellectual market.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very highly recommended, especially to those with an anti-commodification bias (estimated ... Dec 8 2016
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I initially found it a bit too extreme in being too pro-market, but ended up agreeing with most of its very well argued points. Very highly recommended, especially to those with an anti-commodification bias (estimated to affect 99% of people to some degree, myself included ). Yew-Kwang Ng, Winsemius Professor in Economics, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brennan and Jaworski do an excellent job of clarifying this argument Sept. 8 2015
By John Roccia - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I wish to be paid for this review.

Whether paid or not, my honest evaluation: I seldom read books whose premise I already agree with, because it isn't that interesting to be convinced of something you already think. However, Jason Brennan is one of the exceptions to this rule, since I almost always encounter a new perspective or new argument that deepens my understanding. Brennan and Jaworski do an excellent job of clarifying this argument, and even if they did nothing more than that, it would be a service. However, they also argue in simple and convincing terms in favor of their point. More than just information, this book could be viewed as an instruction manual on how to debate this topic.


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