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Freedom, Equality, and the Many Futures of Commodification

Martha Ertman, Joan C. Williams, RETHINKING COMMODIFICATION: CASES AND READINGS IN LAW AND CULTURE 303, NYU Press, 2005

U of Utah Legal Studies Paper No. 05-32

12 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2005  

Martha M. Ertman

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

Joan Chalmers Williams

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Abstract

Is everything for sale? Or is there a realm of sacred things and relationships outside the market? Classic texts on commodification tend to fall into two camps. People who support the recognition of legal markets in adoption, human organs, military service, and votes, and everything else generally feel they are defending freedom of contract - people's freedom to buy and sell whatever they wish. In contrast, people who question whether markets in parental rights or body parts (as well as intellectual property, identity, religious standing, or homemaking labor) worry about other values notably equality, dignity, and solidarity. In both pro- and anti-commodification camps, the instinct is to frame discussions in terms of an on-off decision about whether or not to commodify. This book familiarizes readers with the traditional commodification debate, and offers a solution to the impasse in sharp new writings that move beyond the on-off question of whether or not to commodify.

Keywords: Commodification, markets, property, family, inalienability

Suggested Citation

Ertman, Martha M. and Chalmers Williams, Joan, Freedom, Equality, and the Many Futures of Commodification. Martha Ertman, Joan C. Williams, RETHINKING COMMODIFICATION: CASES AND READINGS IN LAW AND CULTURE 303, NYU Press, 2005; U of Utah Legal Studies Paper No. 05-32. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=774944

Martha M. Ertman (Contact Author)

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law ( email )

500 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-1786
United States

Joan Chalmers Williams

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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