Business TEDTalks

“What Isn’t for Sale?” New essay from Michael Sandel

Posted by: Emily McManus

Michael Sandel (who re-introduced TEDsters to the art of civilized debate in the talk above) makes a provocative argument in this month’s Atlantic:

Without quite realizing it — without ever deciding to do so — we drifted from having a market economy to being a market society.

The difference is this: A market economy is a tool — a valuable and effective tool — for organizing productive activity. A market society is a way of life in which market values seep into every aspect of human endeavor. It’s a place where social relations are made over in the image of the market.

… [To] decide where the market belongs, and where it should be kept at a distance, we have to decide how to value the goods in question — health, education, family life, nature, art, civic duties, and so on. These are moral and political questions, not merely economic ones. To resolve them, we have to debate, case by case, the moral meaning of these goods, and the proper way of valuing them.

It’s a fascinating essay. Read the whole thing here >>

Comments (1)

  • Kevin Parcell commented on Mar 29 2012

    Communities where once human interdependence guided trade are now dismantled by a global marketplace ruled by insentient, immortal persons who understand human suffering as an externality. Where once the market economy was a tool of people, now we have a market society comprised of these persons in which people are chattel.