Amy's Reviews > What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets
What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets
What Money Can't Buy is a great book on a rather unpopular topic. Where it seems like most people are content to simply put their faith in the movements of markets that they don't understand, Sandel is willing and able to point out the inherent limitations of markets in determining how we value what is for sale. Armed with a great number of examples from a variety of financial/economic areas, the author dissects all of them based on two primary objections to putting anything up for sale and letting the market determine the 'value.' The first of these objections is fairness (how free are 'free choices'; what about services that everyone needs, like healthcare; what about areas put aside for common enjoyment, like national parks) and the second is about corruption (does it demean people to plaster them with advertising; do we value lives wrongly when we permit betting on the deaths of strangers; do we undermine the meaning of education when we tacitly teach kids to accept the pronouncements of authorities). I think Sandel did an excellent job articulating the fairness objection, especially in light in rising economic inequality in America and throughout the world. I think he did an acceptable job articulating the corruption objection, though my issue is more with timelines drawn and specific points of comparison in the final chapter than anything else. On a whole, The Moral Limits of Markets is well-researched, well-written, and very educational.
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