Commodification and Law |

This course examines commodification in the American legal system. It asks two key questions: First, what things should be legally available for sale? And second, how should law and society assign a value to those things that are for sale? In approaching the first question, the class will consider whether a range of items and practices should be legally available for sale on the open market, including sex, babies, reproductive labor, cultural and religious artifacts, bodily organs, medical procedures, environmental rights, and more. Drawing on law, philosophy, and the social sciences, students will develop a framework for analyzing what should and should not be for sale. In the process, students will examine practices for assigning a value to items that are for sale on the open market. Students will receive a rigorous introduction to cost-benefit analysis, a form of economic analysis widely used in American law. For example, federal agencies are governed by a rule stating that "to the extent permitted by law, each agency must propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination that its benefits justify its cost." Students will leave the course with a thorough grounding in cost-benefit analysis and an understanding of the legal and moral debate over when it should and should not be used. The course format will primarily consist of discussion with occasional brief lectures. The goal of the course is to write an original research paper of publishable quality. The course will provide opportunities to discuss the project with the professor, submit an outline and a preliminary draft and receive feedback, and receive practical guidance about preparing the paper for publication in February 2021. ***The course satisfies the upper level writing requirement.

Prerequisites: N/A
Credit Hours: 3
ULW: This course does not satisfy the Upper Level Writing requirement (ULW)


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