Our reluctance to engage in moral and spiritual argument, together with our embrace of markets, has apparently led markets into the spheres of life where they don’t belong. From prison cell upgrade in the US to hiring services of surrogate mothers in India and from the right to shoot an endangered black rhino in South Africa to renting out space on your forehead in New Zealand, each for a price, illustrate the manner in which even criminal justice, family life, environmental protection and personal privacy have been corrupted.
Without taking a moral high ground, the author argues that markets tend to crowd out morals and that there is serious case for us to rethink the role and reach of markets in our social practices, human relationships and everyday lives. In addition to raising moral and ethical issues, the question that marketisation of society widens the already existing divide between people of means and those without is equally crucial.
As market continues to explore new avenues for its expansion, the onus will be on us to analyze that putting a price tag on which things will undermine their function and relationship in society. Neither can friendship be bought nor are children sold, despite both being lucrative from a market perspective. Such transactions, even if feasible and acceptable, violate the moral ground of human relationships and neither is good for democracy.
What money can’t buy is all about moral and ethical question of what can be bought and sold in the market. However, it lets the reader ponder over the last question: Do we want a society where everything is up for sale?...Link
What Money Can’t Buy
by Michael Sandel
Allen Lane, UK
244 pages, UK£ 20.