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Michael Sandel On What Markets Can And Cannot Achieve 32:12

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Michael Sandel (redmaxwell/Flickr)
Michael Sandel (redmaxwell/Flickr)

On Wednesday we talked to MIT economist Andrew Lo about his faith in the good that financial markets can do. Notwithstanding the near collapse of the global economy, Lo argued that with proper financial engineering, the markets can play a big role in solving some of our most vexing challenges — from curing cancer, to resolving the energy crisis, to ending global warming.

Sandel says a society that sells nearly everything to the highest bidder is a society that foster's inequality and corruption.

Today, we get a very different perspective about markets and what they can and cannot achieve. The title of Michael Sandel's book states his case pretty succinctly: "What Money Can't Buy — The Moral Limits Of The Markets." Sandel, a Harvard University professor of government, argues that over the past three decades, market thinking has so taken over our society that today nearly everything is for sale: not just yachts, sports cars and fancy vacations, but health care, education, criminal justice, even citizenship.

Sandel says a society that sells nearly everything to the highest bidder is a society that fosters inequality and corruption. And he says we arrived at this point almost by accident — without consensus and without a much-needed debate about whether this is where we want to be.

According to Sandel, we have drifted from having a market economy to being a market society.


  • Michael Sandel, Anne T. and Robert M. Bass professor of government at Harvard, author of "What Money Can't But — The Moral Limits Of The Markets"


This segment aired on October 11, 2012.

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