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September 2016 Vol. 54 No. 1


The following review appeared in the September 2016 issue of CHOICE. The review is for your internal use only. Please review our Permission and Reprints Guidelines or email

Social & Behavioral Sciences

2015-8148 MARC
​Brennan, Jason. Markets without limits: moral virtues and commercial interests, by Jason Brennan and Peter M. Jaworski. Routledge, 2015 (c2016). 239p bibl index ISBN 9780415737340, $140.00; ISBN 9780415737357 pbk, $39.95; ISBN 9781315818085 ebook, contact publisher for price.

This is one of the most important books published this century. Every library should have a copy. Brennan and Jaworski brilliantly argue against the consensus view—accepted on all sides of the political spectrum, from cultural conservatives to left-wing liberals—that there are some goods (such as votes, sex, or kidneys) that should never be bought and sold in the marketplace. Instead, they argue that there should only be restrictions on how things are bought and sold. Thus, for example, vote selling should not be prohibited; there should only be restrictions on how votes are bought and sold. Supporting their views with a wealth of data drawn from economics, anthropology, and sociology, Brennan and Jaworski show that the common view that some goods have an essential “social meaning” that precludes their commodification is false, that the market—and not queuing—is the best means for distributing any good, and that the market encourages, rather than undermines, virtues such as trust and honesty. Despite its theoretical sophistication Markets without Limits is witty, irreverent, and extremely engaging, and so is readily accessible to undergraduates.

--J. S. Taylor, The College of New Jersey

Summing Up: Essential. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty.