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Noxious Markets

The term noxious markets refers to markets seen as morally objectionable. These markets create negative feelings and perceptions in people, leading to their not being accepted as legitimate, often because of the commodity exchanged. Various issues may contribute to making markets noxious in the eyes of individuals, including weak agency on the part of agents in the market, vulnerability and inequality, extreme harms to individuals, and extreme harms to society. For all these reasons, noxious markets are referred to as examples of the moral limits to the expansion of markets. Conversely, the argument has been made that despite their potential for producing repugnance, it may be preferable to allow such markets to operate in a legal and overseen format rather than in hidden, illegal form.

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