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Markets and Morals
Justifying Kidney Sales and Legalizing Prostitution


  • Author: Yew-Kwang Ng, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Yan Wang, Yew-Kwang Ng
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  • Date Published: March 2019
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316646571

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About the Authors
  • Considering efficiency, equality, and morality, this book argues for qualified market expansion, particularly in legalizing kidney sales and prostitution. Legalizing prostitution will benefit both men and women, as argued in a chapter jointly written with Yan Wang. Blood donation without monetary compensation can still result in adequate blood supply if schools educate children that blood donation can actually benefit a donor's health. As a society becomes more advanced, with higher incomes and a better educated populace, more activities can be subject to market exchange, with gradual popular acceptance. Without serious misinformation and irrationality, inequality/fairness as such cannot be a valid reason for limiting the scope of the market. The book supports the use of markets to increase efficiency while also increasing the effort to promote equality, making all income groups better off.

    • Explores how kidney sales and legalized prostitution in particular would significantly increase social welfare while considering efficiency, equality and morality
    • Extends economic analysis to include such effects as the possible crowding out of intrinsic motivation and morality in using the market, thus helping to reduce the anti-market sentiments that might be based on mistaken views
    • Argues that the progression of society through higher degrees of division of labor, higher incomes, better education, more liberalism, and more understanding of economics will typically allow a wider scope for using markets
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Critics of commodification often simply state their prejudices against certain markets. They offer indictments without evidence. And they rarely think through the downsides of their proposals. In this thorough and well-researched book, Yew-Kwang Ng demonstrates that there are feasible ways to commodify various taboo products and services, which would save lives, help the poor, and generate excellent consequences for all involved. Adopting Yew-Kwang Ng's policy ideas would do a tremendous amount of good.' Jason Brennan, Georgetown University

    'Yew-Kwang Ng has one of the most original minds that I have ever encountered. In this stimulating and highly readable book, Ng puts his mind to the task of puncturing many of the shibboleths that have been put forward against the use of markets to allocate goods and services like human organs and sexual favors. Ng is a hard-wired utilitarian, and illustrates in this excellent book how the utilitarian perspective can shed much-needed light on the morality of using market exchange in controversial situations such as these. Anyone who has been troubled by the extension of markets into these areas should read this book.' Dennis C. Mueller, Universität Wien

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316646571
    • length: 220 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 151 x 12 mm
    • weight: 0.32kg
    • contains: 2 b/w illus. 1 table
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. The well-known case of lateness fees
    3. Extending economic analysis
    4. The anti-market sentiment
    5. The inequality/exploitation case against commodification is invalid
    6. Repugnance? Similar to 'honour' killing
    7. Crowding out or crowding in?
    8. Market expansion is a mark of progress
    9. The case for legalising kidney sales
    10. Making presumed consent the default option
    11. Blood donation
    12. Prostitution Yan Wang and Yew-Kwang Ng
    13. Conscription
    14. Profiteering
    15. Water: a typical case of under-pricing
    16. Fines, imprisonment, or whipping?
    17. Some specific areas
    18. Concluding remarks.

  • Author

    Yew-Kwang Ng, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
    Yew-Kwang Ng is Professor of Economics at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; emeritus professor, Monash University; fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia; and member of the Advisory Board, Global Priorities Institute, University of Oxford. In 2007, he received the highest award (Distinguished Fellow) of the Economic Society of Australia. He has also been invited to deliver the inaugural Professor Sir Tony Atkinson Memorial Lecture at Oxford University in 2018. He has 11.5 papers (joint papers counted fractionally) in the top five journals in economics, including one published when he was an undergraduate. He has also published more than thirty books and in more than 250 refereed journal papers in economics, biology, cosmology, informetrics, mathematics, philosophy, psychology, and sociology, including the American Economic Review, The Economic Journal, the Journal of Political Economy, and The Review of Economic Studies.


    Yan Wang, Yew-Kwang Ng

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