Michael Sandel on Justice46:28

This article is more than 11 years old.

It’s bonus time again on Wall Street. And at the end of an epic year of meltdown, bailout, and economic pain, those bonuses are on track to be bigger than ever.

$140 billion is the estimate. In cash. In stock. The biggest bonus pool ever — at the end of a year that’s seen American taxpayers pony up massively for the banks.

When 7 million families face foreclosure and 25 million Americans can’t find full-time work, what’s right here? What’s wrong? What's “just.”

This hour, On Point: political philosopher Michael Sandel on justice at bonus time.

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Michael Sandel is a political philosopher and a professor government at Harvard University. He is the author of many books, including "The Case Against Perfection: Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineering" and "Liberalism and the Limits of Justice."  His latest book is "Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?" He has taught one of Harvard’s most popular courses, “Justice,” for more than two decades. More than 14,000 students have taken the course, which has been turned into a 12-part television series, currently airing on PBS channels across the country.

This program aired on December 14, 2009.