Michael Sandel and why I (heart) the BBC

I was flipping through the news channel on my satellite radio (as I was running some errands) when I came upon the BBC. On it was an absolutely fascinating lecture by Michael Sandel.  I had never heard of him before.  But I was instantly intrigued.  So when I got home, I looked him up.

Apparently, the BBC has something called the Reith Lectures that are conducted by a different person each year.  This year the lecturer is Michael Sandel, a political philosopher and professor at Harvard.  His lecture was on called Markets and Morals. According to the the BBC, “Sandel considers the expansion of markets and how we determine their moral limits. Should immigrants, for example, pay for citizenship? Should we pay schoolchildren for good test results, or even to read a book? He calls for a more robust public debate about such questions, as part of a ‘new citizenship’.”

When seemingly everything is being driven by the market, this is exactly the kind of debate we need to be having.  The fact that markets have no morals and the people driving them seem to think that greed is good and growth is paramount, is exactly why we need to have a national (even global) discussion of the morality of the market system and whether certain things should be left out of it completely.

(Sporty Morty, just to whet your whistle, he discussed the morality of a cap and trade system and the way that it changes the way we think about pollution in that it essentially gives companies more latitude to pollute because you can buy your way out of it.)

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