Markets without Limits: Moral Virtues and Commercial Interests Paperback – Aug 27 2015
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"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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
Should be read by both friends and foes of the market.
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.
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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