Markets without Limits — Where Do We Draw the Line?

Description

Dr. Peter Jaworski says if it’s OK to do something for free, it’s OK to do it for money. But what about selling your own organs? What about selling slaves?

Markets without Limits (book): Check out Peter Jaworski and Jason Brennan’s book to hear more about why anything you can do for free, you should be able to do for money.
Should You Be Allowed to Buy or Sell Your Kidney? – Learn Liberty (video): Students explain why they think you should or should not be able to sell certain things.
Can Capitalism Save Lives? – Econ Chronicles – Learn Liberty (video): Professor Bryan Caplan explains that markets incentivize people to help one another.

Evan Swarztraub:
But where should the line be? I mean, you wrote a book right here, “Markets Without Limits,” if anyone wants to check that out I’ll make sure to plug it at the end of the show too. There’s your title right there, “Markets Without Limits.” Where should the line be? I mean, you could see this getting into the realm of the absurd, right? I can sell a kidney, I could sell my bone marrow, what about a lung? What about a heart? What if the thing I’m donating will necessarily kill me or give me a severe disability or lessen my life expectancy? Are you going to be incentivizing people with low means, in dire economic straits, to do something stupid that is medically inadvisable just for a quick buck? Where, as the author of “Markets Without Limits,” where should the line be drawn when we’re talking about organ markets?
Peter Jaworski:
Yeah. Okay. Good question. Now the title of the book is “Markets Without Limits,” now here’s what Jason Brennan and I mean, he’s the co-author of the book. We say anything that is morally permissible for you to do to have or to exchange for free, you can do, have and exchange those very same things for money.
Evan Swarztraub:
If you could it for free, you can do it for money.
Peter Jaworski:
If you could it for free, you can do it for money. There are all kinds of limits on what we can’t buy and sell. For example, the most obvious or one of the most obvious limits is slavery, right? Obviously you can’t buy and sell people.
Evan Swarztraub:
Right.
Peter Jaworski:
But the reason has nothing to do with markets. Right? The wrong of slavery is not found in the exchange of money.
Evan Swarztraub:
It’s inherent. Right?
Peter Jaworski:
It’s inherent to the kind of thing that slavery is. Exactly right. Right?
Evan Swarztraub:
Yeah.
Peter Jaworski:
The wrong of slavery is found in the removal of the autonomy of another human being who has the right to be autonomous and to make choices for him or herself. Notice that if were to give you a gift of ten slaves. I’m like, “Oh, Evan, here’s, here’s ten slaves.” You know? It’s a gift from me to you. That too, would be wrong. Right?
Evan Swarztraub:
Right. Judge the behavior first and then-
Peter Jaworski:
Exactly.
Evan Swarztraub:
You can say, “If the behavior is permissible, assuming not a single dollar was made, then merely introducing money after the fact is not necessarily a problem depending on what happens afterwards, if it’s regulated in a smart way, if there are safeguards put in place. But just merely having money on the table doesn’t make it wrong.” We’ve got some audience question so I want to get through these.