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

Great introduction to the world of ethics

Well written and read by one of Harvard's most engaging professors, this book is a great introduction to ethical ideas and their application to everyday questions. Sandel is well known for his Harvard lecture series 'Justice' which is freely available on the web. He has a knack for using examples, both common and obscure, to illustrate ethical principles and decision-making processes that help learners better understand how ethical decisions can be reached.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and it made me stop and think about ideas that had never occured to me in relation to commercialism, insurance, advertising and inequality.

Strongly recommended.
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- Kristopher


This book turned me into one of those people who can't get my friends to read what I'm reading and so tells them in too much detail about it. It can get a bit preachy in places, and the major premise of the book- that markets aren't morally neutral and we need to jettison that lie so we can begin to discuss the morality of certain transactions- is fairly apparent to anyone who's given it any thought, but the book was interestingly written and full of exciting examples. I became a factoid dispensing machine, outraged at the things money can, in fact, actually buy. It was good to know and easy to get through.
The narration wasn't spectacular, but it didn't detract for me. It happens sometimes when authors narrate their own books. Not exciting enough for a long road trip, but good for a morning commute.
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- Jennifer

Book Details

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