What should and what should not be for sale in a society? This is the central question in the Moral Limits of Markets (MLM) debate, which is conducted by a group of business ethicists and liberal egalitarian political theorists. These MLM theorists, which we will dub ‘market moralists,’ all put forward a specific version of the argument that while the market is well suited to allocate some categories of goods and services, it is undesirable for the allocation of other such categories. We argue that the current MLM debate is too much framed in terms of a market/non-market dichotomy. Moreover, authors tend to distinguish insufficiently between values such as freedom, equality, and efficiency, and allocation methods such as the market, the queue, and rationing. We introduce a new conceptual scheme consisting of societal domains, values, and allocation methods to provide a better structure for this debate. The argument is illustrated from the education and healthcare domains.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Allocation methods, Education, Healthcare, Moral limits of markets, Sphere differentiation, Values
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10551-016-3346-9, hdl.handle.net/1765/96417
Series ERIM Top-Core Articles
Journal Journal of Business Ethics
Wempe, B.H.E, & Frooman, J. (Jeff). (2016). Reframing the Moral Limits of Markets Debate: Social Domains, Values, Allocation Methods. Journal of Business Ethics, 1–15. doi:10.1007/s10551-016-3346-9