Contested Commodities by Margaret Jane RadinContested Commodities by Margaret Jane Radin

Contested Commodities

byMargaret Jane Radin

Paperback | November 5, 2001

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Not only are there willing buyers for body parts or babies, Radin observes, but some desperately poor people would be willing sellers, while better-off people find such trades abhorrent. Radin observes that many such areas of contested commodification reflect a persistent dilemma in liberal society: we value freedom of choice and simultaneously believe that choices ought to be restricted to protect the integrity of what it means to be a person. She views this tension as primarily the result of underlying social and economic inequality, which need not reflect an irreconcilable conflict in the premises of liberal democracy.

As a philosophical pragmatist, the author therefore argues for a conception of incomplete commodification, in which some contested things can be bought and sold, but only under carefully regulated circumstances. Such a regulatory regime both symbolizes the importance of nonmarket value to personhood and aspires to ameliorate the underlying conditions of inequality.

Margaret Jane Radin is Professor of Law at Stanford University.
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Title:Contested CommoditiesFormat:PaperbackDimensions:296 pagesPublished:November 5, 2001Publisher:HarvardLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0674007166

ISBN - 13:9780674007161

Reviews

Editorial Reviews

Radin's book is both complex in structure and highly nuanced in argument. Essentially it is a critique of existing theories of commodification that develops a distinctive approach to understanding commodification...Radin, like liberal political theorists, seeks a middle way between universalized commodification and universalized noncommodification, instead of a thesis of compartmentalized commodification she offers a thesis of 'incomplete commodification'...[An] insightful and rewarding book.At a time when belief in markets is ascendant throughout the world, Contested Commodities challenges--at the most fundamental level--the very idea of exchanging things for money. Margaret Jane Radin's arguments are subtle and nuanced, and her central claim about the potentially dehumanizing effects of exchange is powerful and important. No one in recent decades has made this case against the dominance of markets as well as Radin.