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Margaret Jane Radin


Things that may be given away but not sold are market-inalienable. In this Article, Professor Radin explores the significance of market-inalienability and its justifications. The author considers and rejects two archetypes that fail to recognize market-inalienability as a separate category of social interaction. One, universal commodification, holds that everything should in principle be subject to market transfer; the other, universal noncommodification, holds that the market should be abolished. Professor Radin also explores and ultimately rejects attempts based on economic analysis and liberal philosophical doctrines to justify particular distinctions between things that are and things that are not appropriately traded in markets. She then offers an alternative justification for market-inalienability that relates it to an ideal of human flourishing. This theory takes into account both the rhetoric in which we conceive of ourselves and our situation in nonideal circumstances. Professor Radin concludes by demonstrating how the theory might be applied to three contested market-inalienabilities: prostitution, baby-selling, and surrogate motherhood.



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