Author(s): Michael J Sandel
A renowned political philosopher rethinks the role that markets and money should play in our society
Should we pay children to read books or to get good grades? Should we put a price on human life to decide how much pollution to allow? Is it ethical to pay people to test risky new drugs or to donate their organs? What about hiring mercenaries to fight our wars, outsourcing inmates to for-profit prisons, auctioning admission to elite universities, or selling citizenship to immigrants willing to pay?
In his "New York Times" bestseller "What Money Can't Buy," Michael J. Sandel takes up one of the biggest ethical questions of our time: Isn't 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. Without quite realizing it, Sandel argues, we have drifted from "having "a market economy to "being "a market society.
In "Justice," an international bestseller, 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 a debate that's been missing in our market-driven age: What is the proper role of markets in a democratic society, and how can we protect the moral and civic goods that markets do not honor and money cannot buy?
Praise for Michael Sandel and "What Money Can't Buy: "
"Michael Sandel's "What Money Can't Buy" is a great book and I recommend every economist to read it, even though we are not really his target audience. The book is pitched at a much wider audience of concerned citizens. But it taps into a rich seam of discontent about the discipline of economics.... The book is brimming with interesting examples which make you think.... I read this book cover-to-cover in less than 48 hours. And I have written more marginal notes than for any book I have read in a long time."--Timothy Besley, "Journal of Economic Literature"
"Provocative. . . "What Money Can't Buy" [is] an engaging, compelling read, consistently unsettling and occasionally unnerving. . . [It] deserves a wide readership."--David M. Kennedy, "Democracy"
"Brilliant, easily readable, beautifully delivered and often funny. . . an indispensable book on the relationship between morality and economics."--David Aaronovitch, "The Times" (London)
"Sandel is probably the world's most relevant living philosopher."--Michael Fitzgerald, "Newsweek"
"In a culture mesmerized by the market, Sandel's is the indispensable voice of reason.... "What Money Can't Buy." . . must surely be one of the most important exercises in public philosophy in many years."--John Gray, "New Statesman"
"[An] important book. . . Michael Sandel is just the right person to get to the bottom of the tangle of moral damage that is being done by markets to our values."--Jeremy Waldron, "The New York Review of Books"
"The most famous teacher of philosophy in the world, [has] shown that it is possible to take philosophy into the public square without insulting the public's intelligence. . .[He] is trying to force open a space for a discourse on civic virtue that he believes has been abandoned by both left and right."--Michael Ignatieff, "The New Republic"
"[Sandel]is such a gentle critic that he merely asks us to open our eyes. . . Yet
Michael J. Sandel is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government at Harvard University. His work has been the subject of television series on PBS and the BBC. His most recent book is the "New York Times "bestseller "Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?."