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Why Some Things Should Not Be For Sale By Debra Satz

analytical Essay
1160 words
1160 words
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Debra Satz, in “Why Some Things Should Not Be for Sale”, argues for a more complex approach in market regulation, as some markets are more problematic than others. While economists tend to evaluate exchanges based only on proficiency (Satz 2010, p2), Satz considers the social context of individual practices in market relationships. In Staz proposed theory, there are four parameters of a market that can make it “noxious”. Noxious in this case meaning the effect of the market causes harmful consequences on society or persons involved. First, some markets may be reliant on the vulnerability of one party to trade. Second, some markets may have exceedingly bad consequences, in terms of welfare or status, for persons involved. Third, some markets may be one-sidedness because of insufficient information, knowledge, or ability to understand or forecast the consequences of an arrangement. Fourth, some markets may have bad consequences for society at large when they reinforce discrimination or inequality of status. For example markets that are considered noxious due to one or more parameters being present in their sale are child labor, prostitution and kidney exchange.

All markets may be affected by parts of the four criteria however, some markets are operationally reliant on on them, and these are the markets, Satz argues, are noxious markets, that need regulating. Satz focuses on “noxious markets” because they can restrain or undermine the development of desirable human qualities, shape preferences in undesirable ways or promote objectionable social relationships. Satz argues that the solution is not prohibition because the consequences of prohibition may be worse than the market itself. Satz instead states that markets need a greater r...

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...er analysis to reflections on economic desperation or injustices in the distribution of income or wealth. She also argues that some markets form and change societies and its citizens, and that because of that effect on our identities and personhood, some goods should not be for sale. Satz is able to convey her opinion in a concise manner as she uses the example of contract pregnancy and demonstrates how inequalities prevail in the market transactions. Satz shows how commodifying reproductive labor in society can reinforces gender inequality of status and promotes prejudices about the role of women in society. However, it is important to note that Satz argues that our negative reactions to noxious markets are not a result of any essential feature of such markets but rather, we react because of the social circumstances in which they operate, for example prostitution.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how debra satz argues for a more complex approach in market regulation, as some markets are more problematic than others.
  • Analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of satz's theory of noxious markets.
  • Explains that the first two parameters of noxious markets relate to the characteristics of the parties before they enter into a market exchange.
  • Explains that satz proposes markets that may operate in ways that leave some participants severely disadvantaged. other markets produce social harms, such as closing down public education.
  • Explains that market societies are highly unequal due to global distribution of wealth, and the vulnerability of the extremely poor. contract pregnancy contributes to gender inequality by reinforcing negative stereotypes about women as ‘baby machines’.
  • Argues that the main problem lies in the consequences for society because commodifying reproductive labor reinforces gender inequality of status and promotes prejudices about the role of women in society.
  • Argues that the evidence provided by satz does not prove that prostitution aggravates assumptions about women and their role in society.
  • Concludes that satz's "why some things should not be for sale" offers reasonable and well-thought-out arguments because she analyzes which reasons we might have to block certain markets, which she calls noxious.
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