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Shifting from a market economy to a market society

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  • karmayog - tanya
    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/tavissmiley/interviews/harvard-professor-michael-sandel/ Harvard professor Michael Sandel The Harvard professor assesses whether
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 24, 2014
      http://www.pbs.org/wnet/tavissmiley/interviews/harvard-professor-michael-sandel/


      Harvard professor Michael Sandel

      The Harvard professor assesses whether morality is in play in U.S. markets
      and discusses his best-selling book, What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits
      of Markets.

      Called one of the world's most interesting political philosophers, Michael
      Sandel is a professor of government at Harvard University, where he's taught
      political philosophy since 1980. His hugely popular undergraduate course,
      "Justice," has enrolled over 15,000 students and is the first Harvard course
      to be made freely available online and on public TV. He's also a
      best-selling author, who, in his latest book, What Money Can't Buy, explores
      the moral dilemmas of a capitalistic society and the choices people face
      daily. A Rhodes Scholar, Sandel received his doctorate from Oxford.

      Extracts from transcript:

      Sandel: We've shifted from having a market economy to becoming a market
      society. A market economy is a tool, and a valuable tool, but a market
      society is a place where everything is up for sale. It's a place where
      market values invade every sphere of life, from personal relations to
      education to health to civic life to military service, for-profit prisons,
      another example, and this has been happening - it's gathered force and
      momentum over the past three decades.

      Tavis: What's the danger for you and for us, more expressly, of this new way
      of life?

      Sandel: Yeah, right. I think the danger is that when markets reach into
      places where they don't belong, they crowd out other values. One of the most
      important places where this happens is that markets crowd out civic spaces
      and a sense of shared citizenship.
      Let me give you a very concrete example. I'm a baseball fan. When I was a
      kid growing up, I lived in Minnesota, followed the Minnesota Twins. In those
      days, there were box seats and there were box seats and there were bleacher
      seats that were cheaper.
      The difference in price between the most expensive box seat and the cheapest
      seat in the bleachers, what would you guess?

      Tavis: Twenty-five.

      Sandel: Two dollars and 50 cents.

      Tavis: (Laughs) I was close, there was a two and a five there.

      Sandel: Well, it's changed. It's because it's changed so dramatically.
      Three-fifty for the best box seat, a dollar to sit in the bleachers. The
      effect was going to a ballgame was a class-mixing experience. CEOs and
      mailroom clerks sat side-by-side. Everyone waited in the same long line to
      go to the restroom and when it rained, everyone got wet.
      Now and over the last few decades, almost all the stadiums have skyboxes,
      which separate the privileged fans from the masses in the seats below. So
      going to a baseball game is no longer the same kind of democratic, civic
      experience, class-mixing experience that it once was, and this is
      happening - this is my worry - throughout our society, with rising
      inequality and where money buys more and more.
      We've experienced the skyboxification of American life. We live and work and
      shop and play in different places, rich and poor, I mean. We send our
      children to different schools.
      This is what I mean by skyboxification of life. That makes it very difficult
      to think of ourselves as sharing a common life, and that makes it difficult
      to think of ourselves as democratic citizens engaged in common purposes in
      common projects. That's my biggest worry.

      Tavis: I've just come off a three-week tour talking about the issue of
      poverty in this country, and I was anxious to get to this conversation with
      you, given what your text is about, in part because if you are right, and I
      believe that you are, that - this is my way of saying it, not your way,
      necessarily - that everything and everybody is up for sale.

      Sandel: Yeah.
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