Saturday, May 19, 2012

What Money Can't Buy: the Moral Limits of Markets

What Money Can't Buy:  The Moral Limits of Markets
By Michael J. Sandel
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012. 244 pgs. Nonfiction

Black market trafficking in items not legally for sale has long been a staple of criminal enterprise, but these days, just about everything is for sale, including stuff that would make a decent person's eyeballs roll back in his/her head. The right to bear children, children themselves, organs for transplant, chances on when a person will die or a life insurance policy on someone you don't even know, naming rights to classic ballparks, the right to put advertising stickers for movies on grocery-store apples, are only a few of the examples Dr. Sandel gives in this enlightening, often cringe-worthy text. That there should be limits on what money can and cannot buy is made abundantly clear in these pages. That there are unlikely to be any restraints in a country which has forsaken a market economy for a market society is also clear--and icky.


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