What Money Can’t Buy

Micheal Sandel: What Money Can’t Buy

Ever wondered how everything in the last decade has become increasingly commercialised? This book is a compelling and engaging account of some of the things that should not be treated as commodities, but somehow market based thinking justified putting a price on them.

Putting a price on a certain thing would create a market for it, it makes sense economically. But, there are somethings on which you can’t put a price without corrupting the moral values of the system and being fair to all people.

A person who is poor can make a conscious choice to sell his kidney, but he might be unfairly coerced into doing it because of the circumstances.

These are the examples of some of the things that weren’t markets before: tokens of friendship and love, special tickets and queues for the rich, advertisements on public transport systems and schools, right to pollute as long as you compensate with counter green measures and exploiting healthy old people for their insurance bonds.

The book ends on a really powerful commentary on what it means to be a democracy. In a society where there is huge gap between rich and poor, market choices are not free choices.

How we answer these questions might really be the next big hurdle our current generation has to face.

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