Volenti goes to market

Journal of Ethics 10 (1-2):53 - 74 (2006)
Abstract
If free markets consist in nothing more than “capitalist acts between consenting adults,” and if in the old legal maxim “volenti non fit injuria,” then it seems to follow that free markets do no wrongs. But that defense of free markets wrenches the “volenti” maxim out of context. In common law adjudication of disputes between two parties, it is perfectly appropriate to cast standards of “volenti” narrowly, and largely ignore “duress via third parties” (wrongs done to or by others who are not themselves party to the action). In economic markets, of course, those third-party effects are rife. But we want them to be rectified systematically, not piecemeal through particular cases between particular parties that happen to come to court. That is the proper province of political philosophers and system-designers, in critiquing and constraining the operation of the market.
Keywords consent  duress  Joel Feinberg  markets  Robert Nozick  third parties   volenti
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