Person to Person: A Note on the Ethics of Commodification
In Markets without Limits (Routledge, 2015) Brennan and Jaworski argue that “If you can have it, you can buy it; if you can give it away to someone, you can sell it to her. […] if it is permissible to do X for free, then you may do X for money.” (16, see also 10, 19, 149,156, 224)
Their thesis addresses an important question about the role and limits of markets; the question about what sorts of things and activities we should allow to be commodified, that is, allow people to exchange through markets. As Brennan and Jaworski note, we live in market societies, but have questions about what sorts of market society we should live in (4). One of these normative questions is about the extent to which we should use markets for the distribution of goods and services. Brennan and Jaworski argue that markets may be used for goods that people may hold (own) or give to others. Thus, markets in bodily organs, permissible activities (including sex), votes, human eggs, surrogacy, and...