Does utilitarianism have a special affinity for the marketplace?
Yes. It comes from the attempt to calculate the greatest good for the greatest number. How do we make interpersonal comparisons of pleasure? I may get more pleasure from eating Hershey chocolate than Ben & Jerrys ice cream. But how can we tell whether I get more pleasure from eating Hershey than you get from eating Ben & Jerrys? This metric seems necessary to make utilitarianism work. Preference utilitarianism requires measuring the strength of different people’s desires. Economists use the concept of effective demand which is willingness to pay plus ability to pay to measure utility. This does the job but is subject to the problem that rich people are willing to pay much more than the poor. The common denominator of money shows how much each will pay for their pleasures, and for many people this solves the problem.