What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets

Michael Sandel claims we have moved unwittingly from having a market economy to being a market society. Should there be a limit to what money can buy? Should richer prisoners be able to buy cell upgrades? Should we pay students to attend school or read books? Should people with money be allowed to employ queuers to obtain much sought after free tickets for open air Shakespeare in New York City with Al Pacino in?

If parents pay their children to write ‘thank you’ notes to grandparents and family friends after Christmas for presents they have received, will it corrupt their moral education?

“Sandel argues we need a serious public debate about what values we want our politics to build and defend. That means dropping the illusion that politics is about no more than efficient management of the economy: it’s about nothing less than competing visions of the good society.” (Guardian review)

As ever Sandel writes with precision and clarity. The master of simple discursive writing, he asks big questions challenging the forces that are not only pushing us to privatise the most human of services, but that also inform parenting models and the way many relationships play out.

See the book here (it’s in the library)

Interesting article on a professional queuer in Italy.

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