Keeping with the recent Milton Friedman theme: Friedman beleived that markets can solve basically any problem. Here's an excerpt from a blog entry at The Economist:
"Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money." That's what Peter the Apostle said to Simon Magus when he tried to buy the power to work miracles. Mr Magus gave us the word "simony", which means the buying and selling of ecclesiastical offices, but can also refer to any human venture or transaction too lofty for the market.
Alvin Roth of Harvard University has published a new working paper on the many potential market transactions--from the selling of cadavers in the 19th century, to serving horsemeat in Californian restaurants--that are hobbled by the kind of repugnance Peter felt for Simon. Some of his examples are poignant as well as repugnant,
"the French Ministry of the Interior, in 1991, issued a statement saying that 'dwarf tossing should be banned'... a French dwarf, who had been employed by a company called Société Fun-Productions, successfully sued in French courts to have the bans overturned. However the bans were upheld on appeal... on the grounds that 'dwarf tossing… affronted human dignity…”' The dwarf then brought his complaint to the UN... he stated 'that there is no work for dwarves in France and that his job does not constitute an affront to human dignity since dignity consists in having a job.' However the UN committee found in favor of France..."
What do you think of this ruling? should there be a market for tossing dwarfs? Why or why not? And if not, are there other things that should not be left to the market? Do you have examples? Try to make your argument on the basis of what goes wrong if you let the market try to allcoate goods and services (seeing that we usually assume that goods and services will be assigned efficiently by the market).