The Moral Limits of Markets

Subject PHIL90027 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

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

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Aug-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 hours - 1 x 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 Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Mr Andrew Alexandra



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, due at the end of week 3 (20%)
  • A 4,000 word research essay, due in the end of semester examination period (80%)

Hurdle requirement:

  • Students must attend a minimum of 80% of classes in order 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
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Master of Public Administration
Master of Public Administration (Enhanced)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 100 Point Master of Arts (Professional and Applied Ethics)
100 Point Master of Public Policy and Management
150 Point Master of Public Policy and Management
200 Point Master of Public Policy and Management
200 points Master of Arts (Professional and Applied Ethics)
EMA 150 point program - full time over 1.5 years
EMA 200 point program - full time over 1.5 years
EMA 200 point program - full time over 2 years
Graduate Certificate in Arts (Advanced) - Professional Ethics
Graduate Diploma in Arts (Advanced) - Professional Ethics

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