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Michael Sandel Case

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Michael Sandel starts off the video saying that there are very few things that money can't buy. The first instance that he gives for this is a prison at Santa Barbara where 82$ a night would mean better amenities. He goes on to quote more examples on amusement park line standing payments to homeless at important congressional meetings or even the War.

His voice is shaky as he starts perhaps symbolic of the enormity of what he is saying. The basic premise is that we have drifted from market economy to market society. The market economy which was earlier a tool of productivity has now led to deteriorating values where thinking happens on the lines of "What economic gains do I get from this activity?". This thinking, he says has dominated personal relations, work culture and the society at large. Money can buy more when there is parity / inequality. This would not matter when buying premium products. But when buying basic necessities like food and shelter, the money equality becomes worrying as it is a measure of how poor we really are.

Apart from inequality, this thinking leads to crowd out practices which matter. Sandel's talk became intriguing as he took over the audience with information about a policy in US where children were given two dollars for every book they read. When he took a small poll, a majority viewed the policy in negative light. Then he pointed out that though children read books, they read shorter ones to get the monetary benefits fast. This is an interesting point he made as monetary benefits drive by motivating in short run, but the aftermath is disturbing.

Such a society lacks in social practices that mean most like engaging together to create a bond in civic life. Market thinking has gained acceptance. We need to rethink how we adapt to this change. This is evident from raising inequality where market thinking means affluent and the poor lead separate lives. This means democracy is lost. Citizens no longer bump amongst each other and no interaction exists between rich and poor. This is where we learn that it is a question of how we want to live. Everything in life is not up for sale and there are certain things in life that Markets do not honor and money can't buy. We need to care about those things!



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