By Allen Buchanan
Ethics, Efficiency and the Market is a systematic evaluation of the main arguments for and against the market as an instrument of social organization, balancing efficiency and justice. It links the distinctive approaches of philosophy and economics to this evaluation.
About Allen Buchanan
Allen Edward Buchanan is the James B. Duke Professor of philosophy at Duke University and also professor of the Philosophy of International Law at the Dickson Poon School of Law at King's College, London. This is one of the first books that he published.
Scott Gordon on The Canadian Journal of Economics wrote:
"This is a good book: lucid, careful-indeed, a critical synthesis of the best thinking. But it might have been an even better book had Buchanan understood the issue a little differently. [...] Buchanan declares that the central issue is be- tween "those who defend the market and those who condemn it." This is wrong-or at least misleading. The issue that confronts every society today, capitalist or socialist, is not whether to use the market, but how to use the market. In all societies there is a recognition that laisser faire has unacceptable economic and ethical consequences; in all societies (possibly excepting Albania) there is a recognition that the market should play some role. The question is, what role? [...] By adopting the capitalist market as the market paradigm (thereby failing to distinguish clearly the market from the other structures of capitalism), Buchanan has forgone the opportunity to address these issues adequately."
"The main weakness of the book is that it contains very little that is not already well known to anyone familiar with welfare economics and the philosophical literature on the ethics of distribution, property rights, etc. Its strength is that it presents the relevant arguments briefly, yet in a lucid, well-organized, and balanced way. [...] perhaps it is intended to serve as a textbook for an undergraduate philosophy course in 'Economics and Ethics.' It reads, in fact, as if it derives from lectures in such a course. It might, however, be more useful for a course in an economics department than in a philosophy department, since the philosophical matter can be grasped by one with no prior training, but it is unlikely that students with no background in economic theory will understand the import of things such as Pareto optimality, externalities, second-best, etc., from the terse discussion that Buchanan offers."
Table of Contents
- The Aims of This Book
- The Distinction between Efficiency Arguments and Ethical Arguments
- The Paretian Concept of Efficiency
2. Efficient Arguments For and Against the Market
- Efficiency Arguments for the Market
- Efficiency Arguments Against the Market: Major Sources of Inefficiency
- The Problem of Comparing Whole Systems
3. Moral Arguments For and Against the Market
- The Social Darwinist Argument
- The Argument from Desert
- Arguments from Mutual Advantage and Utilitarian Arguments
- The Argument from Lockean or Libertarian Moral Rights
- The Argument from Liberty
- The Argument from the Conditions for the Effective Exercise of Basic Rights
- The Argument from Exploitation
- The Argument from Alienation and the Concept of Positive Freedom
- The Market and Nonmarket Forms of Interaction
4. Market Socialism - Separating the Market from Private Property in the Means of Production
- Two Types of Market Socialism
- Market Socialism and the Socialist Tradition: The Great Concession
- The Socialist Calculation Debate