Philosophy of the Marketplace

Taught Fall 2009, with many of the same readings


First Section: To What Extent is Success in Life and Financial Markets Undeserved?

Warren Buffett, "The Ovarian Lottery"
John Rawls, "The Social and Natural Lottery", in A Theory of Justice, Harvard UP (1971), pp. 74-75
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, "Skewness and Asymmetry" and "Monkeys on Typewriters", in Fooled by Randomness (2nd ed.), Random House (2008), pp. 97-115 and 139-164
Burton Malkiel, "Do Security Analysts Pick Winners? The Performance of the Mutual Funds", in A Random Walk Down Wall Street, Norton (2007 ed.), pp. 169-183
Warren Buffett, "The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville", Hermes (1984)
Inside Job, A Sony Pictures Film (2010)
Roger Lowenstein, The End of Wall Street, Penguin (2010), pp. 23-27, 39-47, 55-64, and 285-286
Robert Shiller, "Finance, Sleaziness, and Speculation", in Finance and the Good Society, Princeton UP (2012), pp. 162-186
Judith Jarvis Thomson, "Preferential Hiring", Philosophy and Public Affairs (1973)
Iris Marion Young, "Affirmative Action and the Myth of Merit", in Justice and the Politics of Difference, Princeton UP (1990)

Second Section: How Much Should We Give to Charity and Why?

Peter Unger, "Commonsense Ethics and Harsh Ethical Judgments", in "Contextual Analysis in Ethics", Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (1995)
Peter Singer, selections from The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty, Random House (2009)
David Lewis, "Illusory innocence?", in Papers in Ethics and Social Philosophy, Cambridge UP (1999)
Anthony Appiah, "Cosmopolitanism and Kindness to Strangers", in Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers, Norton (2007)
Bill Clinton, "How Much Should You Give and Why?", in Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World, Knopf (2007)
Peter Buffett, "The Charitable-Industrial Complex", New York Times (2013)
Matt Ridley, "Why We Should Let Free Markets Solve the World's Biggest Problems", in The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves, Harper (2010)
Bill Gates, "Review of Matt Ridley, The Rational Optimist" (online)
Milton Friedman, "Social Welfare Measures", in Capitalism and Freedom, University of Chicago Press (1962)
Andrew Carnegie, "The Gospel of Wealth", North American Review (1889)
Bill Gates, "The Most Gratifying Job on Earth" (online)
Rob Reich, "Toward a Political Theory of Philanthropy", in Giving Well: The Ethics of Philanthropy, Oxford UP (2011)

Third Section: How Plausible are the Ethical Views Presupposed by Economists?

Martha Nussbaum, Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach, Harvard UP (2011), pp. ix-50
Iris Marion Young, "Displacing the Distributive Paradigm", in Justice and the Politics of Difference, Princeton UP (1990)
Robert Shiller, "Finance, Power, and Human Values", in Finance and the Good Society, Princeton UP (2012), pp. 231-239
Daniel Hausman and Michael McPherson, selections from Economic Analysis, Moral Philosophy, and Public Policy, Cambridge UP (2006)
Doug Portmore, "Utilitarianism and Consequentialism: The Basics", Unpublished
Robert Frank, "Supply and Demand", in Microeconomics and Behavior, McGraw-Hill (2009)

Fourth Section: Market Failure, Government Failure, Externalities, Libertarianism

Milton Friedman, "The Role of Government in a Free Society", in Capitalism and Freedom, University of Chicago Press (1962)
Larry Summers, "The Great Liberator", New York Times (2006)
Robert Frank, "Externalities, Public Goods, and Government", in Microeconomics and Behavior, McGraw-Hill (2009)
Robert Frank, "Pareto Notions and the Welfare Theorems", in Microeconomics and Behavior, McGraw-Hill (2009)
Allan Gibbard, "What's Morally Special about Free Exchange?", in Paul, Miller, and Paul (eds.) Ethics and Economics, Blackwell (1985)
Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness, Penguin (2009)

Fifth Section: Inequality, Positional Externalities, and the Moral Limits of Markets

Debra Satz, "Egalitarian Theories of the Moral Limits of Markets", in Why Some Things Should Not be For Sale, Oxford UP (2010), pp. 79-84 and 109-110
Debra Satz, "Markets in Women's Sexual Labor", in Why Some Things Should Not Be For Sale, Oxford UP (2010)
Elizabeth Anderson, "What is the Point of Equality?", Ethics (1999)
Robert Frank, "The Rising Cost of Adequate", in Falling Behind: How Rising Inequality Harms the Middle Class, University of California Press (2007)
Anne-Marie Slaughter, "Why Women Still Can't Have it All", The Atlantic (2012)
Linda Hirshman, "The 'Having-It-All' Crisis Isn't About Women, It's About the 1%", The Atlantic (2012)
Anne-Marie Slaughter, "The 'Having It All' Debate Convinced Me to Stop Saying 'Having It All'", The Atlantic (2012)
Sheryl Sandberg, selections from Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, Knopf (2013)
Milton Friedman, "The Role of Government in Education", in Capitalism and Freedom, University of Chicago Press (1962)
Elizabeth Anderson, "Fair Opportunity in Education: A Democratic Equality Perspective", Ethics (2007)
Steve Jobs, "Rethinking Revolution", Wired (1996)