The Moral Limits of Markets

Subject PHIL90027 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 27-Jul-2015 to 25-Oct-2015
Assessment Period End 20-Nov-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 07-Aug-2015
Census Date 31-Aug-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 25-Sep-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 2 hour seminar each week for 12 weeks
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours


Admission into the Master of Arts in Professional and Applied Ethics or MC-EMA Executive master of Arts or 344AB Master of Public Policy and Management or Masters by Coursework programme at the University of Melbourne with coordinator approval.

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Dr Daniel Halliday


Dr Daniel Halliday

Subject Overview:

It is now possible to buy or sell many things that have traditionally been kept outside of the market. Controversial
examples include the sale of human organs and the renting of reproductive labour. Supporters of these markets argue that they provide a means of allocating important goods whose supply cannot be secured through altruism or other non-market methods. Critics see the spread of markets into new areas of social life as cause for concern, either because they offend against the status of certain goods, exploit vulnerable people, or lead to an objectionable proliferation of commerce. Other problems with markets seem to be emerging given the increased amount of consumer spending in pursuit of status or competitive advantage, as evidenced by markets in luxury goods and private education. This subject will evaluate these concerns with reference to various policy tools, including pricing controls, cooling-off periods, specialised taxation, a minimum wage, and the use of government monopolies.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who complete this subject will:

  • Understand core philosophical positions relevant to markets and their place in a just society.
  • Be able to use such philosophical theory to assess real policy proposals about how and when to prohibit or constrain markets in certain goods.
  • Appreciate the moral significance of various concepts related to markets, including human dignity, freedom of choice and contract, property rights, and exploitation.

A 1,000 word critical review of a week’s readings, 20% (due at the end of week 3) and a 4,000 word research essay, 80% (due in the examination period).

Hurdle Requirement: Students are required to attend a minimum of 75% of classes in order to pass this subject. Regular participation in class is required. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 2% per working day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

To be advised

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Related Course(s): Master of Public Administration
Master of Public Administration (Enhanced)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 100 Point Master of Arts in Professional and Applied Ethics
100 Point Master of Public Policy and Management
150 Point Master of Public Policy and Management
150 point program - full time over 18 months
200 Point Master of Public Policy and Management
200 point program - full time over 18 months
200 point program - full time over 24 months
200 points Master of Arts in Professional and Applied Ethics

Download PDF version.