This chapter considers a class of transactions referred to as “risky exchanges,” which involve significant possibility that one party or another to the exchange will damage the other party through error, incompetence, or malfeasance. Drawing on the author's work concerning baby markets and on a rapidly expanding literature concerning the economics of care, it argues that in order to explain how commercial markets for “risky exchanges” actually work we need to go beyond standard approaches to commodification. Those approaches often rely on simplistic equations of market exchange with moral degradation. Instead, we need to identify and explain multiple ways of organizing commercial exchanges. Some market arrangements do indeed have pernicious consequences, but others offer benefits to all participants.
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