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A Liberal Theory of Commodification


Mildenberger, Carl David (2023). A Liberal Theory of Commodification. Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy:Epub ahead of print.

Abstract

Judging on the basis of standard accounts of commodification, one might reasonably suggest that liberalism intrinsically lacks an adequate theory of commodification. Liberalism, with its commitment to individual choice and to neutrality as regards competing evaluation practices, seems conceptually incapable of identifying or abolishing many significant forms of commodification. This essay aims to refute this claim. It employs a strategy of appealing to the harm principle as grounds for a liberal anti-commodification theory. I claim that we are harmed when we are denied ways to meaningfully engage in certain evaluative practices, ways that depend on evaluations shared with others with whom we stand in meaningful social relationships. Markets can crowd out these shared evaluations, and to this extent cause us psychological harm; this in turn supplies grounds for restrictions on certain markets within a liberal state.

Abstract

Judging on the basis of standard accounts of commodification, one might reasonably suggest that liberalism intrinsically lacks an adequate theory of commodification. Liberalism, with its commitment to individual choice and to neutrality as regards competing evaluation practices, seems conceptually incapable of identifying or abolishing many significant forms of commodification. This essay aims to refute this claim. It employs a strategy of appealing to the harm principle as grounds for a liberal anti-commodification theory. I claim that we are harmed when we are denied ways to meaningfully engage in certain evaluative practices, ways that depend on evaluations shared with others with whom we stand in meaningful social relationships. Markets can crowd out these shared evaluations, and to this extent cause us psychological harm; this in turn supplies grounds for restrictions on certain markets within a liberal state.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:01 Faculty of Theology and the Study of Religion > Center for Ethics
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:100 Philosophy
Uncontrolled Keywords:Commodification, liberalism, crowding out, social good, harm principle
Language:English
Date:25 August 2023
Deposited On:14 Feb 2024 07:28
Last Modified:14 Feb 2024 10:43
Publisher:De Gruyter
ISSN:1019-8288
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1515/krt-2023-0003
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)