Åsbjørn Melkevik, ‘Can We Meaningfully Talk About Just Prices?’

Contracting parties are the best judges of their own interests. So goes the usual story found in the classical liberal literature. Within a classical liberal framework, we are told, prices are not determined by any particular individual, but are rather the result of the many market interactions of autonomous agents. To impose a just price is then thought to be illiberal. This chapter questions such a position. It demonstrates that some transactions could not happen in a market society without a certain theory of just prices, and that such transactions then feed into our understanding of markets, therefore making just prices a de facto reality. Classical liberals should accordingly reassess their view of just prices, such a notion being indispensable to workable market societies.

Can We Meaningfully Talk About Just Prices? in Åsbjørn Melkevik, If You’re a Classical Liberal, How Come You’re Also an Egalitarian? A Theory of Rule Egalitarianism (Springer, March 2020).

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