Sunday, October 28, 2012

Money too has its limits!

Unlike many of us, Michael Sandel is worried about our having drifted from having a market economy to being a market society.  The drift is indeed discerning as people sucked into market economy are rarely conscious of the reasons for their behavior. Simply put, beyond a point market stops short of being freedom of choice and instead creates conditions which exert a kind of coercion on consumers! No wonder, therefore, people rely more on markets and less on morals in making a judgement. Else, why would we pay children to get good grades or pay people to donate organs or pay for lobbyists to favor decisions?

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.

1 comment:

  1. The generations of Indians have been made to believe that money can not buy everything and that the most important things are those that can not be bought. It is the new generation and the neo-rich that questions this belief.

    Hope the book mentions something about this as well!