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“Questions for Free-Market Moralists” by Srinivasan Essay

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Updated: Jun 29th, 2021

The article by Srinivasan, titled “Questions for Free-Market Moralists,” discusses the distinct characteristics of two economic systems – free marked and redistributive. The author presents several questions regarding the moral implications of the free market, such as the circumstances and specific situations in which the exchange between two parties is not a result of fair conditions. This paper will summarize the article “Questions for Free-Market Moralists” and discuss the redistributive and non-redistributive economic systems.

Firstly, this paragraph will summarize the main themes that Srinivasan focuses on in the article. From the perspective of the distributive system, rational actors that have no prior knowledge of their gender or position within a society would want equal opportunities for development guaranteed to all individuals. This is because, in order to have access to opportunities for further development, individuals should be able to satisfy their basic needs. This includes medicine, education, and other social entities, which guarantee a specific living standard. This approach is described in the article as a redistributive system.

Another approach is the free market system, in which the sole role of the government is to ensure safety and adherence to the contract agreements. Individuals within this system can sell their services and receive a payment equal to their competency, based on the free will of the people buying it. Therefore, such individuals deserve to become wealthy as a result of their work and free-market exchange, not owing anything to the government or other citizens.

The four questions that the author presents outline the moral implications of the free market system, suggesting that people may be required to sell their organs to survive, which is impossible in a just society. Moreover, factors such as inherited wealth and genetics, affect a person’s opportunities, as well as inherited wealth. The author poses essential questions that allow one to determine the ethical principles that guide their view of the socio-economic policy. The author suggests that although the laws protect people who encounter difficulties from engaging in activities that can be dangerous, such as selling their organs, other dangers exist.

In my opinion, the fair free market is a more promising economic system that can help address the common economic issues of all individuals. While the author criticizes the moral implications of this system, it is unclear how the morality of redistributing money, earned by an individual reasonably is considered from the viewpoint of the just society. In essence, although it is true that some people suffer from poverty, in most developed countries, social systems that help exist. Arguably, such an approach is a compromise between the free-market and the redistributive economic strategies, which helps address the moral concerns of both parties. As I understand, in a redistribution system, one entity collects and redistributes the finances earned by all citizens of a state.

In this case, several issues, such as the rules of redistribution and criteria that would define who receives a specific amount of money arises. While according to the Nozickian viewpoint, people, regardless of their background, can develop and build their professional careers to earn money, which I think is fairer and economically efficient. Overall, the article by Srinivasan discusses the free market system, where an exchange between people redistributes the goods and finances and the redistributive system, in which the government guarantees a certain standard of living.

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