Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 112, Issue 2, pp 271-281

First online:

Is Market Society Intrinsically Repugnant?

  • Jason BrennanAffiliated withMcDonough School of Business, Georgetown University Email author 

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In Why Not Socialism?, G. A. Cohen argues that market society and capitalism are intrinsically repugnant. He asks us to imagine an ideal camping trip, which becomes increasing repugnant as it shifts from living by socialist to capitalist principles. In this paper, I expose the limits of this style of argument by making a parallel argument, which shows how an ideal anarchist camping trip becomes increasingly repugnant as the campsite turns from anarchism to democracy. When we see why this style of argument fails to generate interesting objections to democracy, we then see why it also fails to generate interesting objections to market society.


G. A. Cohen Capitalism Socialism Greed Community