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Title: Commodification
Contributor(s): Walsh, Adrian J (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2013
DOI: 10.1002/9781444367072.wbiee712
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Abstract: Are there some things that should not be commodified? By "commodification" we mean the process of transforming a good or activity into a commodity available on the market. How extensive should that market be? For instance, should transplant kidneys, water, professional soldiers, or sexual services be available on the market? Are there reasons to prevent the buying and selling of certain kinds of goods or might we permissibly allow the commodification of everything that can be commodified? In recent years a number of philosophers have argued that not everything should be for sale and in this their views reflect the concerns of a significant portion of the general community who find the incursions of the market into everyday life insidious. Such philosophical criticism can be sorted into two main categories. Firstly there are 'moral boundaries theorists' who hold that while markets in general are morally permissible (and even desirable), their range should be restricted. This group is to be contrasted with 'abolitionists' who hold the more radical view that markets should be abolished entirely (although historically significant this latter group is far less common today). At the same time there are many philosophers (and economists) who maintain that the market is the best mechanism for allocating goods and, thus, increasing the range of goods subject to market discipline can only be a good thing. Other philosophers, of a more libertarian bent, have argued that any attempt to restrain market exchanges between competent and consenting adults represents an unjustifiable attack upon human freedom (see libertarianism).
Publication Type: Entry In Reference Work
Source of Publication: The International Encyclopedia of Ethics, p. 905-913
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Place of Publication: online
ISBN: 9781444367072
Field of Research (FOR): 220319 Social Philosophy
220102 Business Ethics
HERDC Category Description: N Entry In Reference Work
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