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What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets Hardcover – Apr 24 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1 edition (April 27 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374203032
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374203030
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 2.7 x 23.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 476 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #124,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"Provocative and intellectually suggestive...amply researched and presented with exemplary clarity, [it] is weighty indeed -- little less than a wake-up call to recognise our desperate need to rediscover some intelligible way of talking about humanity." -- Rowan Williams, Prospect

"Brilliant, easily readable, beautifully delivered and often indispensable book." -- David Aaronovitch, Times

"Entertaining and provocative." -- Diane Coyle, Independent

"Poring through Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel's new book...I found myself over and over again turning pages and saying, 'I had no idea.' I had no idea that in the year 2000...'a Russian rocket emblazoned with a giant Pizza Hut logo carried advertising into outer space,' or that in 2001, the British novelist Fay Weldon wrote a book commissioned by the jewelry company Bulgari...I knew that stadiums are now named for corporations, but had no idea that now 'even sliding into home is a corporate-sponsored event'...I had no idea that in 2001 an elementary school in New Jersey became America's first public school 'to sell naming rights to a corporate sponsor.'" -- Thomas Friedman, New York Times

"A vivid illustration...Let's hope that What Money Can't Buy, by being so patient and so accumulative in its argument and its examples, marks a permanent shift in these debates." -- John Lanchester, Guardian

"In a culture mesmerised by the market, Sandel's is the indispensable voice of reason...if we...bring basic values into political life in the way that Sandel suggests, at least we won't be stuck with the dreary market orthodoxies that he has so elegantly demolished." -- John Gray, New Statesman

"What Money Can't Buy is replete with examples of what money can, in fact, buy...Sandel has a genius for showing why such changes are deeply important." -- Martin Sandbu, Financial Times

"Sandel is a political philosopher who makes us think about what it means to be good." -- Andrew Anthony, The Guardian

"What Mr. Sandel does not offer is prescriptions for rolling back the clock. He is such a gentle critic that he merely asks us to open our eyes...Yet What Money Can't Buy makes it clear that market morality is an exceptionally thin wedge." -- Jonathan V. Last, The Wall Street Journal

"Sandel is probably the world's most relevant living philosopher, thanks to the hugely popular course he teaches at Harvard, 'Justice' ...To make his argument Sandel stays focused on the everyday; he's a practical philosopher. He asks what it says about us that we employed more mercenaries than U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan? What about the idea that we should sell immigration rights? Does that cheapen the idea of citizenship?" -- Michael Fitzgerald, Newsweek

"There is no more fundamental question we face than how to best preserve the common good and build strong communities that benefit everyone. Sandel's book is an excellent starting place for that dialogue." -- Kevin J. Hamilton, The Seattle Times

"Sandel...sounds the alarm that the belief in a market economy diminishes moral thought...An exquisitely reasoned, skillfully written treatise on big issues of everyday life." -- Kirkus Review

About the Author

Michael J. Sandel is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government at Harvard University. His work has been the subject of television series on PBS and the BBC. His most recent book is the New York Times bestseller Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought the book brand new hardcover from Bargain Books for about $10, whereas Amazon sells it for $40, but the copy I received is not an original, it is a reprint with larger type for people with reading impairment. It was specified "large print" in the book description, but I didn't give it attention. I guess I will still be able to read it again when I get old with presbyopia! So beware when you order, unless you specifically want this type of book. Besides that, everything is perfect.
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Format: Hardcover

"We live at a time when almost everything can be bought and sold. Over the past three decades, markets--and market values--have come to govern our lives as never before. We did not arrive at this condition through any deliberate choice. It is almost as if it came upon us...

Today, the logic of buying and selling no longer applies to material goods alone but increasingly governs the whole of life. It is time to ask whether we want to live this way...

We [also] need to ask whether there are some things money should not buy. [In other words, what are the moral limits of markets?]"

The above comes from the introduction of this very interesting book by Michael J. Sandel. He is a Professor of Government at Harvard University. Sandel is also an author. His writings have been translated into 18 languages, and his lectures on Justice have been viewed, online and on T.V., throughout the world.

In an economic or business transaction of any kind, both seller and buyer, it is claimed, get what they want. But are there moral implications to some of these transactions?

In this book, Sandel does a good job in providing us with certain market transactions, analysing them, and then detailing the moral implications of said transactions.

This book is divided into parts. Below I will give the name of the part and an example of sections in that part that typifies a particular market transaction:

(1) Jumping the Queue. Sections in this part include (i) hired line standers (ii) ticket scalpers

(2) Incentives. Example sections: (i) paying kids for good grades (ii) paying to kill an endangered species (iii) cash for (female) sterilization.

(3) How Markets Crowd Out Morals.
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By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on July 14 2013
Format: Hardcover
As we move along in our 21st century lifestyle, the aura of money becomes an ever dominant force in our daily existence. As the traditional medium of economic exchange in global society, it has now reached new heights of mystical attainment in its claim to be able to transform human behavior through the power of incentive. It has been claimed by many that people's views on life, be they religious, economic, political or social, can be easily changed if the price is right. According to Sandel, such an assumption is not entirely accurate because there is a part of us that answers to moral considerations that balk at the notion that money is everything. For Sandel, one of the world's leading economic ethicists, our lives often turn on the question of what money can buy in order to achieve greater security or feeling of happiness. Using the term 'incentive' to head up his discussion on this very controversial and divisive subject, Sandel takes the approach that the promise of money can only go so far in achieving intrinsic value for the individual in the community at large. Incentivizing, with the use of money, someone to do better at school, stop littering, break the smoking habit, abide by the rules of the road, or just desisting from anti-social behavior has mixed results. It has not been shown that money, in the form of a bribe or a fine, changes bad behavior over time. The wealthy in society will quite often see traffic fines as simply the cost of doing business. For instance, Finland's efforts to take it to wealthy drivers who flout the law by forcing them to pay huge fines that match their incomes still have a persistent problem. Then there is the situation where people only perform as intended if the incentive continues.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A simply brilliant argument for values beyond the commodity. Excellent piece of philosophical reasoning.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Definitely a better read and more interesting than I expected.
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