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Contested Commodities

Margaret Jane Radin. Contested Commodities Authors:Margaret Jane Radin.
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Not only are there willing buyers for body parts or babies, Margaret Radin observes, but some desperately poor people would be willing sellers, while better-off people find such trades abhorrent. Radin argues that such areas of contested commodification reflect a persistent dilemma in liberal society: we value freedom of choice and simultaneously believe that choices should be restricted to protect the integrity of what it means to be a person. She views this tension as 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, Radin presents 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. "In this thought-provoking...

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