Addressing Moral Concerns Raised by the Market. Review of “Élodie Bertrand, Marie-Xavière Catto and Alicia-Dorothy Mornington (eds), Les limites du marché – La marchandisation de la nature et du corps”

Review of “The Limits of the Markets – Commodification of Nature and Body”

Christian Bessy (2021)

Oeconomica 11(2), pp. 349-364.

Extract: “By questioning the construction of common values that allow one to call for justice, Picavet’s reflection can also be linked to the justification model developed by Boltanski and Thévenot (2006), who participated in the development of the economics of convention approach in France (Eymard-Duvernay, 2006; Diaz-Bone and Salais, 2011). These authors distinguish between different ways of constructing the “common good” (of “moving from the parts to the whole”), following a pluralist theory of justice that transcends communities. These principles of justice are in competition with each other, in the sense that in each justification, the other “common goods” are reduced to particular goods. Commitment to one common good has the consequence—as a kind of sacrifice—of limiting investment in other common goods. Thus, investment in the “market good” implies a constant search for commercial profit, without ever relying on tradition or on personal attachments specific to the “domestic good”. “Market logic”, in reference to Adam Smith’s political philosophy, allows the two concepts of “good” to be confused. The opportunism of the rich, through the business they do, contributes greatly to competition. Luxury thus benefits everyone, and the rich find selfish happiness not only in the enjoyment of their “goods”, but also in the multiplication of opportunities to trade, a multiplication considered as a “good” in the ethical sense.” (p. 360)

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