Should we pay children to read books or to get good grades? Should we allow corporations to pay for the right to pollute the atmosphere? Is it ethical to pay people to test risky new drugs or to donate their organs? What about hiring mercenaries to fight our wars? Auctioning admission to elite universities? Selling citizenship to immigrants willing to pay? In What Money Can’t Buy, Michael J. Sandel takes on one of the biggest ethical questions of our time: Is there something wrong with a world in which everything is for sale? If so, how can we prevent market values from reaching into spheres of life where they don’t belong? What are the moral limits of markets? In recent decades, market values have crowded out nonmarket norms in almost every aspect of life—medicine, education, government, law, art, sports, even family life and personal relations. Without quite realizing it, Sandel argues, we have drifted from having a market economy to being a market society. Is this where we want to be?
In his New York Times best seller Justice, Sandel showed himself to be a master at illuminating, with clarity and verve, the hard moral questions we confront in our everyday lives. Now, in What Money Can’t Buy, he provokes an essential discussion that we, in our marketdriven age, need to have: What is the proper role of markets in a democratic society—and how can we protect the moral and civic goods that markets don’t honor and that money can’t buy?
©2012 Michael J. Sandel (P)2012 Macmillan Audio
Sandel articulates the intrusions of market values in public spaces and how that intrusion degrades our coherence as a society and our personal values. His analysis is spot on.
Do you read the book before you dislike my reviews?
As an Asian descent, my family doesn't buy gifts. Not because we don't believe in purchasing gifts, but we give the gift of cash as our generosity because its convenient and they can buy whatever they want. Although giving money might not be a thoughtful idea to some, but when you give cash or hand them a check, you are not charging some product on a credit card that you have to pay later, and go into debt for something that they will never use.
Giving money might be better for our economy because you need to make sure that you have funds in your account for the check to clear or make sure that you have enough cash to give. The recipient can accept the cash gift and spend it in whatever they want or they can save it for a rainy day. Instead of buying a gift that we cannot afford to give, just give a buck and not be in debt.
When reading this book, start asking yourself what is not for sale and hopefully you will get an ethical stands that money can't buy you everything, but it comes pretty close. Reading what you can actually buy is not surprising because everything is for sale. Paying drug addicts women to not to get pregnant to prevent crack babies, to making your house into a big billboard. Everything is for sale. The most interesting part of this book, is how life insurance got started and how we see death pay out as an investment.
I would never tattoo my body for a free lunch, even it's for a lifetime of free burritos.
Interesting but not enough to keep you from setting down the book half way through.
Average to middlin'
Not many surprises here. It kind of let me down after hearing the author on TV. I had hoped for a more interesting narrative.
Abu Dhabi, UAE
Not a chance.
He tried to be intellectually honest...but failed.
Page 1 to the end.
This was a painful waste of time.
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