Professor Michael Sandel: What Money Can’t Buy’ and What it Shouldn’t Buy

Michael J. Sandel (born March 5, 1953) is an American political philosopher and a professor at Harvard University. He is best known for the Harvard course ‘Justice’, which is available to view online.

Justice with Michael Sandel – Online Harvard Course Exploring, “What’s the Right Thing To Do?”

While most of our everyday transactions are driven by the marketplace, are there some things money shouldn’t be able to buy — a spot in line, maybe a human life? As part of his Making Sen$e of financial news series, Paul Solman speaks with Harvard professor Michael Sandel about his new book, “What Money Can’t Buy.”

Is it wrong to pay to get to the head of the line?
Do I think I should be able to bid for a baby?

MICHAEL SANDEL: Over the last three decades, we’ve actually drifted, without quite realizing it, from having a market economy to becoming a market society.

Michael Sandel: ‘There are fewer and fewer things that money can’t buy’
Sandel provides examples of areas of life in which the introduction of market forces can have unintended and often negative consequences.


Is it moral to place a bet on when your neighbors might die? Any qualms about betting on the lives of others, now a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States? Or, as Sandel put it:

“Suppose you and I were looking out the window, and we saw a guy walking kind of wobbly, didn’t know him, and we decided to place a bet as to how long he would live. Anything wrong with that?”

Who do you think was on the cover — named the “most influential foreign figure” of the year in China? Barack Obama? No. Bill Gates? No. Warren Buffett? No.
It was Michael J. Sandel.
He is a rock star in Asia, and people in China, Japan and South Korea scalp tickets to hear him…


About benvitalis

math grad - Interest: Number theory
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