What Money Can't Buy

  • by Michael J. Sandel
  • Narrated by Michael J. Sandel
  • 7 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Should we pay children to read books or to get good grades? Should we allow corporations to pay for the right to pollute the atmosphere? Is it ethical to pay people to test risky new drugs or to donate their organs? What about hiring mercenaries to fight our wars? Auctioning admission to elite universities? Selling citizenship to immigrants willing to pay? In What Money Can’t Buy, Michael J. Sandel takes on one of the biggest ethical questions of our time: Is there something wrong with a world in which everything is for sale? If so, how can we prevent market values from reaching into spheres of life where they don’t belong? What are the moral limits of markets? In recent decades, market values have crowded out nonmarket norms in almost every aspect of life—medicine, education, government, law, art, sports, even family life and personal relations. Without quite realizing it, Sandel argues, we have drifted from having a market economy to being a market society. Is this where we want to be?
In his New York Times best seller Justice, Sandel showed himself to be a master at illuminating, with clarity and verve, the hard moral questions we confront in our everyday lives. Now, in What Money Can’t Buy, he provokes an essential discussion that we, in our marketdriven age, need to have: What is the proper role of markets in a democratic society—and how can we protect the moral and civic goods that markets don’t honor and that money can’t buy?


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Connect your own dots. Well done.

This is a rather timely book. Professor Sandel does a great job of laying out the ethical, moral and economic arguments, but requires the reader, at least until the very end, to connect the dots and decide what is right. I really appreciate this because it allows one to draw one's own moral conclusions and do some of the work required to decide what is right and wrong about the way markets have shaped society. This has the potential to turn readers from passive head-nodders to active participants in change. One minor knit-pick: as an advertising person, I feel that calling into question the morality of certain kinds of adverting (casino tattoos on the forehead, turning one's home or car into a billboard) somewhat cheapens the arguments in this book. Advertising takes many forms and it's really easy (and a little lazy) to point to the more out-there forms of the trade and call it into question. Yes, it's morally wrong to prey on the economic situations of people that need to get tattoos or car wraps in order to feed their families, fund their drug habits or pay their mortgages. We all know this. The thing about advertising is, it's a self-policing business. If the general public feels that a specific form of advertising is repugnant, it goes away pretty quickly for the simple reason that a message in that media will be met with disdain instead of sales. That said, I found this book, as I have with other books by the author, completely engrossing, thought-provoking and stimulating.
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- Grant "caffeinated"

the skyboxification of our lives

Super survey of all the different ways we monetize our lives. A section on how companies purchase life insurance on hundreds of thousands of employees was especially interesting, as was a discussion on the business of "naming rights."
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- Andy

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-24-2012
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio