Michael v. Michael: A debate on how (or if) business can solve social problems

Posted by: Kate Torgovnick May

Their names may both be Michael. They may even both be professors at Harvard. But Michael Porter and Michael Sandel offer up radically different ideas on business and its potential for good in their TED Talks, both released today. While  Porter suggests that businesses are in a great position to tackle social problems — because they can address need while generating salaries and tax money — Sandel is deeply worried about the growing monetization of our culture. He asks: Can market-ization taint the best of ideals?

Michael Porter: Why business can be good at solving social problemsMichael Porter: Why business can be good at solving social problemsThe two Michaels took the stage back-to-back at TEDGlobal 2013, and as they spoke, it felt like a Sharks-vs.-Jets rumble might be brewing in the theater. Attendees whispered to their neighbors, many clearly having different opinions from one another. And so, host Chris Anderson brought the two onstage together for a debate. Watch what happens …