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Why Some Things Should Not Be for SaleThe Moral Limits of Markets$
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Debra Satz

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195311594

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195311594.001.0001

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Markets in Women’s Sexual Labor

Markets in Women’s Sexual Labor

Chapter:
(p.135) 6 Markets in Women’s Sexual Labor
Source:
Why Some Things Should Not Be for Sale
Author(s):

Debra Satz (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195311594.003.0006

The author’s strategy in this chapter parallels that of the last chapter on contract pregnancy. Two popular approaches to the morality of prostitution are sketched and criticized. The “economic” approach attributes the wrongness of prostitution to its consequences for efficiency: the fact that it generates externalities. The important feature of this approach is its treatment of sex as a morally indifferent matter. The second “essentialist” approach, by contrast, stresses that sales of sexual labor are wrong because they are inherently alienating or damaging to human happiness. In contrast to these two ways of thinking about the immorality of prostitution, the author argues that the most plausible support for the asymmetry thesis stems from the role of commercialized sex and reproduction in sustaining a social world in which women form a subordinated social group.

Keywords:   prostitution, sex markets, gender inequality, unequal status

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