UPDATE: In just over 24 hours, the silent auction closes. Current high bid is $260.
There’s been some discussion about the metaphysics of dedication, such as whether it’s really possible to dedicate a book by fiat. Without getting into why, let me just announce that my perhaps mistaken belief is that one can dedicate a book by fiat, and I intend to dedicate it on behalf of the high bidder. Peter and I are sincerely grateful to everyone who has helped us commodify our book. (And if someone says that because we are sincerely grateful and aren’t really doing for the money, that this isn’t real commodification, well, we cover that in part II.)
Have you ever wanted to dedicate a book to someone? Now you can!
Markets without Limits’s expected publication date is October 2015. In this book, Peter Jaworski and I defend the thesis that “If you may do it for free, you may do it for money.” Some excerpts from the first chapter:
We think rumors of the evils of markets have been greatly exaggerated. It is time to give markets a fair hearing.
Our goal in this book is deflationary. We want to show anti-commodification theorists that their complaints about the scope of the market are misplaced. There are, we agree, things that should not be bought and sold, but that’s only because they are things people shouldn’t have or do in the first place. Beyond that, we argue, there are legitimate moral worries about how we buy, trade, and sell, but no legitimate worries about what we buy, trade, and sell…
…to take another example, Michael Sandel complains about parents trying to sell naming rights to their children. He worries children might end up being named “Pepsi Peterson” or “Jamba Juice Jones”.[i] But, in our view and in Sandel’s, the problem here is that these names are humiliating. If so, then parents shouldn’t give their kids these names, period, for free. If so, the market for naming kids Pepsi is wrong because naming kids Pepsi is wrong. The wrongness doesn’t originate in the market. In contrast, Brennan gave his children normal, boring names. Since it was permissible for him to do so for free, it would be, in our view, permissible for him to do so for a fat check from Pepsi.
As part of our effort to commodify our book on commodification (we raised over $600 from selling acknowledgments), we’re selling the dedication page. The dedicate page will read like this:
Insert dedication here.*
*BUYER paid $AMOUNT for this dedication.
Here are the rules:
1. You get up to 100 characters, including spaces, for the dedication.
2. We will give the winner a wide degree of freedom in writing the dedication. We won’t publish anything that is in legal sense slanderous/libelous/defamatory, or is likely in some way going to get us in legal trouble. We won’t accept dedications attacking or criticizing our family or friends. We won’t publish something that has strong potential to get us fired. Publishing government secrets? Out. Accusing someone of a crime without evidence? Out. But you can dedicate book to, say, Charles Manson, Ayn Rand, or Karl Marx. You could write something nasty such as, “To Jason Brennan, may he die soon and in pain,” or, “To Nickelback, the best band ever.”
3. You agree to allow us to publish your real name and the amount you paid for the dedication on the dedication page.
4. We will use a silent auction system to determine the winner. To bid, just reply to this post with a comment. Indicate the amount of your bid in your comment. Make sure to include your email address (which need not be displayed) when filling out the comment form so that we can contact you. You don’t need to choose what your dedication will be now; you can decide that later, after winning.
5. Bidding starts now. Minimum bid is $25. Bidding ends at midnight, February 14. Remember, book dedications make a great Valentine’s Day gift.
For what it’s worth, we’re doing it for the money, but we’re not really doing it for the money. It’s important to the integrity of the book that we commodify it a bit, but we aren’t doing this because we need the cash. That said, our intention is spend all the money we raise from commodifying the book on self-gratification, or to invest the money; not a single cent will be donated to charity.