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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Market Economy versus Market Society: Inequality and Civic Decisions - TED - Michael Sandel



Here's a question we need to rethink together:
 What should be the role of money and markets in our societies?

Michael Sandel: Why we shouldn't trust markets with our civic life


He makes the very important distinctions between Market Economy and Market Society!


Over the past three decades, we have lived through a quiet revolution. We've drifted almost without realizing it from having a market economy to becoming market societies. The difference is this: A market economy is a tool, a valuable and effective tool, for organizing productive activity, but a market society is a place where almost everything is up for saleIt's a way of life, in which market thinking and market values begin to dominate every aspect of life: personal relations, family life, health, education, politics, law, civic life. (bolding added)

Sandel gives two reasons for being worried about letting a Market Society come about.  I agree with him that we have been letting this happen.  One reason has to do with "inequality", e.g., a small group of people have a lot more money or wealth than most, by far the majority, of the people.

But when money comes increasingly to govern access to the essentials of the good life -- decent health care, access to the best education, political voice and influence in campaigns --when money comes to govern all of those things, inequality matters a great deal. And so the marketization of everything sharpens the sting of inequality and its social and civic consequence. ... (bolding added)

The second reason is that "social goods" served in a market society by market thinking is that our view of the "social goods" are changed.  I would translate this into potentially affecting our morality and ethics.  How should "social goods" be distributed? By need, by lottery, or by ability to "pay?"

There's a second reason apart from the worry about inequality, and it's this: with some social goods and practices, when market thinking and market values enter, they may change the meaning of those practices and crowd out attitudes and norms worth caring about.

Sandel does not directly address market regulation or management or control but it is implicit.  Any one who approaches this topic with a clear mind has to continue to question and consider "markets", how are they functioning and are they an appropriate way to allocate resources.

Watch the video. Read the transcript.  I only summarize his ideas.



04/05/2014

Consider this story in the context of the Supreme Court giving those with money a "bullhorn" to shout their views while the rest of us can only cup our hands.


Moyers - Is Net Neutrality Dead? 5/2014 New Threat ! PBS   ... let it not become "one of those things you can't afford!"

Another perspective -- EQUALITY -- click to listen -- 12 minutes

The Declaration of Independence: The Ultimate Self-Help Guide

So my night students got the kernal of the Declaration a lot faster than any other students I’ve seen. What the Declaration offers is a certain kind of rigor of analysis. What’s your diagnosis of your circumstances? What do you propose to do about it? How do you justify it? Three steps. So I think they found it very empowering. What was the different kind of course they wanted to set? How would they justify it.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Market society seems to be a social, political as well as existential phenomenom. The market resides, as it were, within us: http://review.ehl.lu.se/the-market-within-comedians-truths-and-the-great-escape-from-ourselves/