Reframing the moral limits of markets debate: social domains, values, mechanisms

Ben Wempe, J Frooman

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8 Citations (Scopus)
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What should and what should not be for sale in a society? This is the central question in the Moral Limits of Markets (MLM) debate, which is conducted by a group of liberal egalitarian political theorists, including Anderson, Grant, Radin, Sandel, Satz, and Walzer. These MLM theorists, which we will dub ‘market moralists’, all put forward a specific version of the argument that while the market is well suited to allocate some categories of goods and services, it is undesirable for the allocation of other such categories. We argue that the current MLM debate is too much framed in terms of a market/non-market dichotomy. Moreover, authors tend to distinguish insufficiently between values such as freedom, equality and efficiency, and allocative mechanisms such as the market and the queue. We introduce a new conceptual scheme consisting of societal domains, values, and mechanisms to provide a better structure for this debate. The argument is illustrated from the education and health care domains.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2016

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