Markets are said to serve goals such as efficiently allocating resources and entitlements, rewarding desert, inculcating virtues, and spreading power. This Essay, which was written for a special issue of Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy on the ethical challenges of the market, focuses on another – arguably the most fundamental – goal: markets can serve our right to self-authorship (or self-determination). The aim of this Essay is to study the market’s autonomy-enhancing telos.
Markets are potentially conducive to people’s self-determination because alienating resources and entitlements enables geographical, social, familial, professional, and political mobility, which is often a prerequisite of meaningful autonomy. Markets are also important to self-authorship because they facilitate people’s ability to legitimately enlist one another in the pursuit of private goals and purposes – both material and social – thus enhancing our ability to be the authors of our own lives …
Dagan, Hanoch, Markets for Self-Authorship (October 10, 2017). Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy, forthcoming.