This chapter looks to the role of the market as a mediating institution in the culture wars that so polarize American society. Rather than seeing markets as an amoral space devoted solely to the efficient allocation of resources, it argues that the market is a site of moral deliberation, one that tends to generate compromise and mutual accommodation. As the regulatory state has grown, it has displaced markets as sites of moral deliberation, moving those conflicts into administrative agencies and the courts that are supposed to serve as a check on their actions. Through a detailed account of the legal battles between the government and religious objectors to the so-called contraceptive mandate, this chapter illustrates how government regulation has tended to exacerbate cultural divisions and suggests that a greater reliance on markets could mitigate polarization around hot button cultural fights.
Julia D. Mahoney, Markets, Religion and Moral Deliberation, in Democracy, Religion, and Commerce: Private Markets and the Public Regulation of Religion, Routledge, 25–38 (2023).