Free Market Reproduction Scenario Reflection Assignment

By Editorial Team Jan 13, 2022

Free Market Reproduction Scenario Reflection Assignment

Discuss the main points of the debate, what stance you take, support that stance, and discuss the opposing argument. Also discuss an ethical theory that would apply to defend your view.

To complete each scenario assignment:

  1. Read the scenario debate completely.
  2. Compose your reflection in a Word document and be sure to address, at a minimum, the following questions:
    • Why do you feel the way you do about the issue presented?
    • Of the four responses offered in the end of the scenario labeled (A,B,C,D), which do you think is the most ethical and why?
  3. Support your conclusions with evidence and cite at least two sources.
  4. Your reflection must be 1-2 pages in length and follow APA formatting and citation guidelines as appropriate.


Debate Speaker:

A free market brings buyers and sellers together based on supply and demand for various products. It is an economic mechanism and a neutral one. However the results of marketplace consumerism are not always neutral. The societal impacts of a free market depend upon the ethics that allow or prohibit buying and selling various commodities. Take the sale of ivory, for example; If ivory is bought and sold freely, the demand for ivory will result in the slaughter of thousands of elephants for their tusks. If we find that practice unethical, we can prohibit ivory sales, which will make it more difficult to buy and sell ivory and send a clear message about the ethics of ivory sales. If we condone the presence of reproductive commodities on the market, the market will respond and provide buyers with options. If we prohibit sales, that also sends a message about the ethics.

Dr. Wynn:

The free market is not an appropriate tool for advancing an agenda, and it will not work as one. It is neutral with regard to reproductive rights. Should we meddle with one system in order to address ethics issues in a separate, unrelated system? The market will behave as it behaves, for better or worse.

Dr. Reynolds:

You speak as though the market is entirely beyond control, but that is not the case. We can prohibit or restrict the sale of reproductive commodities such as sperm and eggs and though the market itself is neutral, it can be both harmful and beneficial to society. If cedar wood becomes trendy in home design and decorating, cedar trees may be cut down too quickly to allow areas to recover and regrow. The demand for cedar wood would be directly to blame for the destruction of cedar trees, even if the market itself merely facilitates buying and selling the commodity.

Person in the audience:

Can you give us an example of a technology that utilizes the commodities we’re talking about?

Dr. Wynn:

Most of these technologies address infertility. The most common is in vitro fertilization, or IVF, which was first offered in the United States in 1981. It resulted in the birth of more than 500,000 children between the years of 1985 and 2006. A woman takes fertility drugs to increase her production of eggs, and then a physician retrieves those eggs. Then sperm is mixed with the eggs and fertilization may take place.

Debate Speaker:

Where does the problem arise with the commodities we’re talking about?

Dr. Reynolds:

Assisted reproduction sometimes requires the use of sperm, eggs, or wombs from third parties who are not expected to play a role in raising the resulting children. When third parties become involved and are paid for their time and resources, ethical issues may arise. Also, the costs of these technologies are often prohibitive. Poorer couples dealing with infertility do not have the same options as well-to-do couples.

Dr. Wynn:

So do you propose that we use the free market as an arbiter for ethics based solely on prohibitions and stamps of approval? The market as an economic mechanism was not designed for such arbitrations. It will not serve well in that capacity. We risk losing a human element when we depend on an impartial process to further an ethical goal.

Dr. Wynn’s opinion on the topic of debate –

The marketplace is not where this issue should be regulated.

We should present ethical issues to the public, not try to address them in an unrelated arena.

The free market must remain totally free.

Dr. Reynolds:

The impartiality can work to our advantage. Human beings are still the arbiters; we are simply utilizing an established means to facilitate commerce. For example, we may want to prohibit human cloning, but to encourage in vitro fertilization. We can accomplish both through market regulation. We state cloning dangers by prohibition, whereas subsidies are given to in vitro fertilization, which would amount to that stamp of approval you mention. Both send strong signals, and the market stays the same, already in place, offering choices or blocking access.

Dr Reynold’s opinion on the topic of debate:

The market place is the perfect place to address these issues.

We use market regulation to address ethical concerns all the time.


Consider these responses and choose the one you believe to be most ethical.

  1. We need to address Dr. Nguyen’s concerns further. What are the long-term implications of relying on market arbitration? Though the markets neutrality means it is not inherently biased, manipulating the system for something unintended could have disastrous unforeseen consequences. We should present ethical conclusions to the public, not slide them into the public consciousness via the free market.
  2. I don’t see the issues here, but more importantly, I don’t see any changes that we are required to make. Making decisions based on ethics may or may not affect the market. We are not changing the way the market operates or imposing ethics on a neutral mechanism, so this a non-issue.
  3. Dr. Reynolds is right. The market itself is free of bias, but we present our own biases through the demand and supply that keep the market alive. While we are not looking to change the fundamental mechanism of the free market, we can certainly impose or ease restrictions, which amounts to imposing desired ethics. This is not new, we are simply acknowledging the market as a means to express ethical decisions.
  4. The free market is virtually untapped in terms of forging a new and more ethical space. Its neutrality makes it a perfect canvas, and we can choose the paint. If we want to condone egg sales, we can even create an artificial demand that will boost the supply. Then, with proper advertising, we can generate real demand and set whole industries in motion where we deem it ethical to do so.



Annual Ethics Symposium. (2021). Evolving Ethics. Free Market Reproduction.



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