On air: Four questions from Michael Sandel

Our special guest on today’s show -presented from Cornwall – is  Harvard Professor and Reith Lecturer Michael Sandel.

Here’s a few questions he’s putting to you :

Do you think the market should decide everything ?

How about paying for soldiers – mercenaries if you like – to defend your country regardless of their nationality ?

Or if you live in the developed world, how about paying for someone in the developing world to have your baby for you ?

Why is someone who can tell jokes on television paid a fortune while a nurse who saves lives paid a comparative pittance ?

Are there some principles of justice that exist independent of what markets promote ? or is an outcome chosen by the market “necessarily just”. ?

To those of you who are angry at bankers bonuses : Are you riled because it’s public money ? or simply because of the scale ? or because you personally are going through bad times and you don’t care what they get as long as you are doing well.?

Here’s an interview Prof Sandel gave to Harper’s Magazine and one on the BBC.

Professor Sandel will be here, Ros will be in Cornwall and you’ll be answering his questions.

116 Responses to “On air: Four questions from Michael Sandel”

  1. 1 Revyloution
    February 24, 2010 at 18:59

    I think the ideal system should be flexible. Fixed ideologies like Socialism Capitalism and Communism crack under pressure. Our governments should be free to increase or decrease regulation based on population pressures and resource availability.

    People need to free themselves from ideologies, and learn to accept evidence no matter where it leads them.

  2. 2 Alan in AZ
    February 24, 2010 at 19:45

    There’s only one of those question worth merit! Keep the rest for a Cocktail or Tea party.

    I to am concerned in regards to the pay disparity between a Nurse and a Comedian. I think we have our priorities misplaced. I don’t mind paying for good entertainment and other pleasures. But there is a great moral problem concerning pay around the world.

    Caregivers save and preserve our lives. We pay them little. A Comedian makes us laugh so we almost pee our pants. Here my $35 for a live show. A police or rescue person pulls us from a wreck and we sue them for the extra scratches we received. A banker loses millions and we give them a $100,000.00 bonus and hope they aren’t stupid enough to do it again. Our childs teacher, works extra hours at night grading and preparing for the next day, takes extra classes to improve themselves and their students and with a Masters degree they may get $60,000.00 a year. A Rapper puts out a song extolling the fun of killing Cops and little kids, and they make so much, that the Gold Dollar sign around their neck gives them a back pain.

    Yeah! This is an issue!

    • 3 jens
      February 24, 2010 at 20:40

      does anybody force you to buy the 35$ ticket or by the rappers song?

      it is a simple demand issue. caregivers salaries will go up if the demand wants it to do so. the comedian might only be funny for a couple of years, the rapper the same. it is only the very few who make these hugh saleries, the vast majority of comedians make nothing.

  3. 4 JanB
    February 24, 2010 at 19:55

    The market should deal with competitive/innovative sectors and sectors that have to remain politically neutral, while the state should regulate or even handle sectors where it is more important the “product” should be available to everyone, be reliable or adhere to a certain loyalty/ideology. The market should handle things like the computer industry and (at least some of) the media, while the state should handle things like healthcare, education, the justice system and the military. Of course the market should develop things like medical technology (possibly via a contract with the government for which the company had to compete with others), but the state should handle the distribution and implementation of that technology to ensure it will be available to anyone, not just the rich.

    February 24, 2010 at 20:23

    Everything is bound to go haywire when there is not a well agreed upon consesus. No one wants to cooperate under a climate of shady deals that belitles human intellect because the sense of partnership is compromised. There must be rewards on both sides.

    Most affairs these days result from closed boardroom conspiracies where the consumer is unrepresented and yet when mistakes happen, one is required to chip in during damage repair for example in the banking crisis.

    Industry and governments these days behave as if they are not part and percel of society and perceive themselves as independent entities.

  5. 6 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    February 24, 2010 at 21:34

    “Do you think the market should decide everything ?”

    The market in its most pristine form could decide everything! Unfortunately the market is like a woman from the world’s oldest profession claiming that she’s a virgin! [No insult intended to the women from the world’s oldest profession either directly or indirectly.]

    Markets are manipulated and if “Harvard Professor and Reith Lecturer Michael Sandel.” wants me to tell him why; I can and I will!

    Enjoy your fantasies in the meanwhile as I’m pretty sure that views like mine are quite unwelcome on WHYS or other media &/or most media which are also manipulated by the ‘manipulators’ even though as in the case of the BBC the ‘License Fee’ payers are major contributors to its revenue!

  6. 7 Bert
    February 24, 2010 at 23:20

    On mercenaries: sports fans should know something about that, eh? All pro sports consist of overpaid mercenaries. No, I don’t like that in sports or in the military. Governments become even more stupid when they don;t have to care about who they throw into battle.

    On babies: whatever.

    On nurse’s vs comedians: Hey, if everyone else were more like me, stand-up comedians would be out on the street, out of work. People should take PERSONAL responsibility for where they throw their money. The government is not making comedians rich, WE ARE. So, WE can take action. Stop watching them on TV, for instance. Or if you love them so much, maybe they are worth what they earn after all.

    On bankers’ bonuses: In the greater scheme of things, they are a drop in the bucket. They are galling, though, as long as we keep in mind that they are a drop in the bucket. But again, personal responsibility is key. Don;t use banks so much. Don’t borrow to buy a car. Save money before yo spend it. That’ll put a crimp on their bonuses.

  7. 8 T
    February 25, 2010 at 00:13

    Ideally, there should be fair distribution of wealth for everyone.

    In reality, that won’t happen because of greed. Some still think Communism is the answer. But it’s not because the people at the top always keep everything for themselves. In the States, many things are now socialized. But it’s almost illegal to use the word socialism in public.

    Until we can get past all of these hangups, nothing will change.

    • 9 jens
      February 25, 2010 at 15:43

      Now tell me, why should i work 50-60 hours if through wealth redistribution I could get away with less work and have another fool work his socks of for me? why should i go to university and live below the poverty level for nearly a decade, so that my increaed wages are going to be taken away from me to have them redistributed?

  8. 10 loudobservant
    February 25, 2010 at 00:44

    There is definitely a lot of disparity between payments professional’s of various categories receive. There must be a dividing line drawn to distinguish between essential and entertainment services. The former work under extenuating circumstances,e.g.,doctors and nurses,while entertainers and others work on the stage,and, not in direct physical contacts with individuals; so on and so forth.

  9. 11 Subhash C Mehta
    February 25, 2010 at 06:40

    If we think and act ethically and conscientiously, we would generally get almost the same answers/responses and, more or less set the same priorities on most of the local, national and global issues. If a joker/prankster gets more TV than nurse working so hard to nurse/care and to save lives, under difficult conditions/environs, it’s only us to blame because our judgment is unethical/corrupted. Besides, we are also not socially conscious; most of the times, while faced with some crises, we tend to be very selfish and indifferent; Like in the case of the Bankers’ bonuses, we never cared much about what they were getting (justifiably or not), before the economic tragedy or downturn struck us and most of the public lost most of their heavy investments in Stocks & Shares. As a matter of fact, we’ve yet to learn a lot, to change our selfish/greedy mindset, so that we voluntarily/sincerely start to think and act conscientiously and globally.

  10. February 25, 2010 at 09:13

    The market must be regulated… there must be rules. Good rules make good games.

    No to mercenaries. We should have a draft, then our politicians won’t be sending us into meaningless wars, because their grandchildren may well be soldiers.

    When it comes to salaries, the government must stay out of all negotiations.

    And taxes (glad you asked!)? There should be no income tax whatsoever. Taxes should be collected when you SPEND money, and not when you EARN it.

  11. 13 Idris Dangalan
    February 25, 2010 at 09:13

    It is global problem because here Nigeria it is in every sector , example to had same degree, same varsity, same grade and both working Federal sector but different organisation, come and see the salary scale; person A working with Nigerian port Authority earned $1700/mon. while person B working with education earned $300/mon. i think the difference is odd and the funny thing is that person A must have god-fathers before getting such offer while person B is normal country-man. This is Nigeria.

  12. 14 Ibrahim in UK
    February 25, 2010 at 12:06

    Market forces depend on imperfect (and usually selfish) people making imperfect decisions, inevitably leading to imperfect results.
    If we know what the faults are, then it makes sense to try to rectify them. Either by improving the individuals, and/or by applying regulation to minimise the imperfections.

    • 15 Adam
      February 25, 2010 at 20:05

      i’d opt for the former! when recrifying certain perceptions of things, such as money, materliasim, and so forth, things are bound to change for the better. just like stated earlier, you don’t have to borrow to buy a car,save the money,and do with what you have! but then again, the easier things are being made by lenders and banks, the more trouble we are in, should i decide to give into this kinda scheme of things!

  13. 16 Bob in Queensland
    February 25, 2010 at 12:19

    Is the market fair or just? Nah. However, trying to ignore it means you’re also trying to ignore that most basic human instinct: greed. The best you can hope for is to moderate the worst excesses–look at the conspicuous lack of success groups like the communists had trying to control it. No matter what you try, some animals will always be “more equal than others”.

    • 17 Adam
      February 25, 2010 at 20:11

      i’d beg to differ, greed isn’t a basic human instinct! it’s simply acquired later on in life ,when wrong ethics are being instilled!

  14. 18 Dan
    February 25, 2010 at 12:30

    Why should there be a fair distribution of wealth for everyone? Who decides what is fair?
    I think the better answer is there should be equal opportunity of access to opportunity for everyone.
    People who have taken advantage of the opportunity and became successful row the Capital and expand the Capital markets thus increasing wealth.
    Do you not agree?

  15. February 25, 2010 at 13:54

    Let’s disassemble the slogan? The more the market – the better? Whether will place the market all in the places? Whether the state should interfere with economy? First of all we should specify all functions of the state, than it should be engaged? We know from our history that extreme measures too do not result in good. We should offer what vector of economic reforms to a society? What priority purposes to define on the future. We already know that the planned economy has not sustained a competition. In my opinion it is necessary to spend a number of political reforms, being based on our recent study of our ancestors. Many politicians do not understand that we already live during other time, the world has exchanged radically, we have left from opposition. But unfortunately have not developed of some concrete steps on an exit from destabilization of the economic market. We should disassemble all existing economic theories and to develop on these researches a correct course of economic transformations.

  16. 20 Peter Gizzi UK
    February 25, 2010 at 14:41

    I can only speak for The UK. Here people are encouraged to send their children to university many of which produce useless pieces of paper called qualifications. If our rubbish is not collected, office not cleaned, no hospital porter, roads not swept we scream at the authoroties. How many of these screamers would want their children to do these jobs? We are a country of hypocrites.

    I have never used a bank always a building society. If more did the same the banks would have to reduce their charges. I come from an era where we saved when we wanted something new. Hire purchase was considered the lowest form of shopping. New homes were furnished with second hand stuff.

    PDXMIKE mentions taxing on goods not earnings. I believe this system is used in Canada though whether it actually works I do not know? I do like the idea though as goods could be differentially taxed perhaps helping the less well off? Bit like our old purchase tax replaced by The EUs dreadful and grossly inefficients VAT.

  17. 21 neil
    February 25, 2010 at 15:30

    Bank bonuses dont matter as long as the recipients pay taxes in proportion to their income and it is in the local nation’s interest that the best poeople stay within the local economy within a global business – they have significant trickle down effect.

    The whole issue has been taken out of proportion because of an ignorant media particularly television [eg Sky, BBC] where the presenters only focus upon the emotional context of a bank and the total bonus value – but which parts of the bank are earning the bonuses – in most cases it is investment banking NOT consumer retail banking. Also the UK needs RBS, Lloyds to be successful to build the share price and accelerate the government’s exit from shareholding with some compensation – the bankers are helpin this to happen.

    The main issue is ignorance in primetime tv presenters who see an emotional subject and build the fire – they have no expertise in finance [or anything else] and do not represent the public eg questions starting “most people would say …” Nonsense.

  18. 22 Gary Paudler
    February 25, 2010 at 16:06

    I work to provide clean water to poor people. Among those concerned with similar pursuits there has formed a strong consensus that no solution will work unless it is “market-based” meaning provision of water (food, micronutrients, mosquito nets, whatever) will fail unless there is a mercantile mechanism and the recipients pay money. I have a hard time charging people, who have nothing, for drinking water. I bristle at the notion that markets should decide everything.
    Sure, pay mercenaries; if it is to defend my country, they’ll have to go back to banking or stand-up – when was the last time my country needed to be defended? Not Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait, Iraq or Afghanistan – if mercenaries of any nationality are recruited honestly and commanded by U.S. commissioned officers held to U.S. laws – big ifs.
    Paying for the pregnancy of poor women is asking for trouble and probably unregulatable with the likelihood of abuse. If you have love to share, adopt a child. The gene pool doesn’t need your really special DNA.
    Nurses and comics are subject to market forces and most comics make far less than nurses. Both professions would benefit if nursing schools included courses in comedy.
    Markets are not necessarily just, invite abuse and corruption and must be closely regulated by government. Unfortunately, our government is chosen by unregulated market forces as reinforced by the recent supreme court decision.
    If banking were subject to “just” market forces, if our government was not bought and sold, if our leaders were tending to our best interests, then financial firms could not afford to pay insane bonuses to the miscreants who wrecked our economy; in most cases entirely legally with the collusion of their puppets in government. In that fantasy world, banks would turn a reasonable profit serving their customers and paying their employees an honest salary.

  19. February 25, 2010 at 17:18

    Shared wealth is a Utopian dream,an impossible Utopian dream.Civic responsibilty in ethics and morals is a very tough question,they can be legislated for some of them,but then one gets bogged down in rights of the individual or group.Religeon must never enter politics as an active body.As far as a mercenary army is concerned,fine,if you fancy a coup-de’etat.Not sure what the Professor means about market forces,I know they drive the ecconomy,but they certainly do not decide everything,nor could they.

  20. February 25, 2010 at 17:21

    [Are there some principles of justice that exist independent of what markets promote? or is an outcome chosen by the market “necessarily just”?]

    To answer this question, there are still wide disparities in earning between individuals compared to the tasks they perform. There are those who work less but they get more, especially in the third world countries. In Morocco, for example there are civil servants at a high rank who earn ten times more than those at the lowest ladder, in addition to bonuses.

    It’s rather unjust that some are paid much more than they need while others earn just to stay alive or have to do more than one job to meet their basic needs. There must be just distribution of wealth, not in the communist style, which has proved a failure. But distribution should be based on qualifications and efforts. But what I have just said sounds like a cliché. It’s the same as saying, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

  21. 25 Nengak (Abuja, Nigeria)
    February 25, 2010 at 17:32

    I think reward in life is not only measured in monetary terms. I have heard of people walking up to Doctors to say you saved my life 20 years ago when you performed this surgery on my mother – and that is exactly what I will be saying to one particular doctor if I ever meet him.
    But I have never heard anyone say to a comedian “Your joke last season kept me going” or “That goal you scored made me want to live”.
    Yes money and financial compensation are really very important, but I think lots of folks when they lie down to sleep at night its words like “You made my day”, “you saved my child” that keep coming back to their minds not the fattest check they earned each day.

  22. February 25, 2010 at 17:35

    I’ll definately tune in. I love to here from prof.sandel. I’m still wondering why someone would log on to this blog only to say they can’t comment leave a comment apparently because some people would not welcome their views. My summary opinion is that everything must be done in moderation, then we wouldn’t have things spiralling out of control, whatsoever.

  23. February 25, 2010 at 17:44

    The economy a science exact, is impossible to solve it methods of a deceit or substitution of concepts. The surplus value is profit. It is impossible to sell air.

  24. 28 Margaret
    February 25, 2010 at 17:53

    If you can’t have a child from your own womb then adopt a needy one. The world is already overpopulated.
    The bonuses paid to bankers are disgusting. I hope many bankers will donate their bonuses to charity.The money could be used to benefit the truly needy. I am not wealthy but I am not in need.

  25. February 25, 2010 at 18:00

    Ethical considerations should be given more weight. If all our actions are going to be governed by the power of money, we are heading for a very selfish world. Perhaps that is the reality but we have still the choice: we should take optimal decisions. Money is important but so are values! We need to have a heart and see the suffering in the world. We need to be compassionate and not allow materialism to blind our responses!

  26. 30 Linda from Italy
    February 25, 2010 at 18:04

    Re mercenaries.
    A horrible idea because one of the things that does eventually militate against warmongers, especially those in the West, post WW2, is when the body count of “our boys” reaches critical mass and turns public opinion against whatever cause is in dispute.
    It is a sad fact that thousands of dead Vietnamese, Iraqis or Afghans or anyone in a country thousands of miles away, from a different culture and possibly with different physical features has little impact on most of the general public, particularly when such deaths are clothed in that most odious of euphemisms “collateral damage”.
    Farming our wars out to some unfortunate mercenaries, who would also probably be from Third World countries, would take that one brake off and even worse mayhem would ensue. Any vaguely civilised rules of engagement would also be bent, if not obliterated because the political masters could wash their hand of the conduct of these mercenaries who would probably not even be required to pay lip service to any ethical code.
    We have already had some evidence of this with the appalling conduct of some private security firms operating in Iraq, and while there have been some feeble attempts to rein this in, the same principle applies.

  27. 31 Maccus Germanis
    February 25, 2010 at 18:07

    I actually count six questions.

    The term “market” here is poorly defined. If reference is being made to realities existing as a cummalative result of individual free decisions, then yes. For instance, a slave market, violating the individual volition of the slave, does not qualify as something the market should decide. Otherwise, the interference by government into freely developed and traded commodities violates the individual volition of all involved.

    I would advise against an over-reliance on mercenaries, but is otherwise not offensive.

    I think the premium surrogacy services would be in the developed world, where medical support is more available.

    Personally, I’ve found that I’ve bought many more entertainment services than health services. I had thought that a sign of good health, but I guess I’m just a villian instead.

    There are values independent of the market. There are also values independent of governments coersive actions. Freely created markets are a better reflection of their participants sense of justice than are burecratic interventions.

    Not angry at bankers. Wished public funds had never been pledged.

  28. 32 gary indiana
    February 25, 2010 at 18:11

    A common approach to creative marketing involves naming defects as positives. Phrasing a question about “market place justice” is a perfect example. Market places do not measure justice; but instead probe that level of injustice customers will bear. Market value isn’t the simple sum of the intrinsic value and legitimate distribution and handling costs; but always includes an extra bit carefully weighed to be just within the customer’s tolerance for injustice. A casual investigation of the theft euphemistically labeled “closing costs” collected upon settlement of home purchase involving a loan will amply support this statement.

  29. 33 Rodrigo Augusto Leal da Silva
    February 25, 2010 at 18:15

    First of all, we have to remember that the State is strictly connected, as an institution, to public interest. It cannot be forgotten when we find ourselves discussing market issues, specially market regulation — public interest is not market´s organic law, and dosesn´t have to be either. What is important to make clear here is that everyone takes part, directly or not, in market activities, and the existence an institution to protect the rights of non-agents is imperative.
    Second, we have to look back at History and see how Adam Smith´s invisible hand was a total failure. Eric Hobsbawm gave us strong evidence of that when he studied the British Economic History.
    My point here is that the market needs someone to control it, or at least to set the major rules. This is not only a concern regarding public interest, but also the sustainability of the whole system we live in, Capitalism, which naturally tends to selfdestruction.
    What happened to Lehmann in the U.S., that almost brought the world to an economic collapse, is a very good example to show how important it is to keep markets under serious regulation…

  30. 34 Linda from Italy
    February 25, 2010 at 18:16

    I very much agree with Revyloution about devotion to the market economy being nothing more than yet another flawed ideology, apparently based on the unsound principles of a pseudo-science, and supported by a superstitious prejudice against the hated “other” in this case, very loosely, social democracy any whiff of which immediately makes these fundamentalists reaching for their guns and screaming Communist.
    I ceased being a communist at about the age of 18 when it dawned on me that it had never worked, because like all apparently benign ideas, it gets twisted in the hands of the power-hungry, just like religion.
    Jesus Christ was the first communist, but his “love thy neighbour” ideals seem to find very little resonance in the doings of most churches.
    The bishops of market capitalism bang on about freedoms, but at whose expense?

  31. 35 subra
    February 25, 2010 at 18:22

    the imperfections of the markets find their origin among the consumers that rush in large numbers to buy certain goods. Had consumers behaved rationally, buy those goods that they need most, prices would not rise to high levels. It’s the greater demand that pushes price high and permiting the joker to earn high salaries. Although the nurse does an important task to cure a sick person there is no rush for her services.
    Another problem is ostentation, buying goods just for showing off, like buying the latest model of mobile phone despite having one functioning properly. Some consumers buy more than one mobile where one could do the job.

  32. 36 Linda from Italy
    February 25, 2010 at 18:23

    Re childbirth, why on earth would I want anyone to have babies for me?
    I only have one and am too old for any more, but I wouldn’t have swapped the experience of being pregnant for anything. I never felt so well in my life, I worked in quite a physically strenuous job, until about a fortnight before his birth, granted not all women are that lucky, and the reward for that nine months was just fantastic.
    Assuming of course you are physically able to carry a child, I just can’t see how any women would want this.

  33. 37 teej
    February 25, 2010 at 18:26

    Do you think the market should decide everything ?

    No, but lets pick a system and stick to it instead of picking an idea, paying lip service then changing it when we start to suffer because it doesn’t suit us.

    How about paying for soldiers – mercenaries if you like – to defend your country regardless of their nationality ?

    Why not. Ernest Hemingway said “Once we have a war there is only one thing to do. It must be won”. War happens and it must be won swiftly and decisevly in order to minimize death. We often balk a our fellow country men being killed for political ends, so lets have a fully professional and voluntary army.

    Or if you live in the developed world, how about paying for someone in the developing world to have your baby for you ?
    Huh!! why?

    Why is someone who can tell jokes on television paid a fortune while a nurse who saves lives paid a comparative pittance ?
    I do not know and find this a perversion of our social priorities.

    Are there some principles of justice that exist independent of what markets promote ? or is an outcome chosen by the market “necessarily just”. ?
    Again, a society driven by commercial priorities will never be truly just, and will be far less just than one driven by purely humanitarian concerns. We have a vivid illustration of this today in the world.

    To those of you who are angry at bankers bonuses : Are you riled because it’s public money ? or simply because of the scale ? or because you personally are going through bad times and you don’t care what they get as long as you are doing well.?
    Well, back to the first question and the previous question isnt it. …..But it does seem illogical and surreal, the amounts of these people earn based on what they do and what they contribute to society in general.

  34. 38 John in Salem
    February 25, 2010 at 18:30

    Individuals can have ethics, whereas the “market” is basically just mob rule – the greater the number of people, the lower the average IQ. If we let the market decide everything slavery would still be legal because of it’s profit margin.

    I wouldn’t trust any paid mercenary to sacrifice himself, if necessary, to protect my family. If he can be bought by me he can be bought to betray me as well.

    I have no problem with surrogate pregnancy if no one is being taken advantage of. Bottom line – whatever you would expect to be paid is what you should pay anyone else.

    Television entertainers make so disproportionaly more than everyone else because they are paid a percentage of the value the market puts on what they are being used to sell – air time.

    Do some principles of justice exist independently of what markets promote?
    See my above comment regarding slavery.

    I’m personally riled at bankers because they were given billions in public funds which allowed them to take advantage of my situation, at no risk to them, and refuse to renegotiate my loan for the home I eventually lost. Today that house still sits empty, depreciating the value of every other house around it, and the bank’s profit margin is astronomically above what it normally would have been while I was forced to declare bancruptcy as a result.

  35. 39 gary indiana
    February 25, 2010 at 18:43

    Why pick on comics? How does the market justify the existence of food commodities speculators who do not grow, transport, or process food stuffs; but still increase their costs? At least comics provide a few laughs for the cover charge.

    • 40 Maccus Germanis
      February 25, 2010 at 19:54

      Because farmers need to buy seed. Many crops are grown on contract rather than the speculative notions of the farmers.

  36. 41 viola
    February 25, 2010 at 19:04

    Are you taking questions for Mr. Mandel? If so, I would like to hear him clarify the difference between two concepts: justice and fairness.

    I believe many, if not most, people don’t understand that there is a difference. let alone what that difference is. I also believe it is crucial for people to understand the difference.


    Viola in Canada

  37. 42 Alan in AZ
    February 25, 2010 at 19:06

    @ Camlus!

    I agree! Everything in Moderation!

  38. 43 Mike in Seattle
    February 25, 2010 at 19:16

    In response to the issue of free markets and organs –

    It is incredibly immoral to allow the sale of organs as those who are in the most dire of financial straights will be forced into such a procedure. I can imagine debt collectors suggesting that a kidney should go to pay off debts for instance.

    Yet a I have a question for Mr. Sandel – How do you feel about a libertarian paternalistic approach, as advocated by Cass Sustein and others? In the case of organs, it would take the form of opt-out organ donation rather than opt-in.

    What about stronger policies like those of Israel – where health conditions being equal, those signed up for donation will receive donations over those who are not signed up?

  39. 44 Revyloution
    February 25, 2010 at 19:18

    The real difference between nurses and bankers should be risk, not pay.

    Bankers should have a high risk potential for their income, where nurses should have very secure pay structure.

    Capitalism is a great way to make bankers scrutinize every transaction for loss potential. They should fear failure as much as they desire success.

    Nurses on the other hand shouldnt have to worry about their mortgage or their retirement. Financial concerns should be minimal, so they can concentrate on the care of their patients.

  40. 45 Maccus Germanis
    February 25, 2010 at 19:19

    Who measures public good? As a survey, why don’t we distribute certian markers among the populace, for them to freely give to those that do them good. We don’t have to call those markers dollars at all.

  41. 46 patti in cape coral
    February 25, 2010 at 19:20

    1. No, I don’t think the markekt should decide everything.

    2. The problem with using mercenary soldiers is very well-stated by John in Salem, above.

    3. I personally would not pay someone else to have my babies for me. If a woman could not carry a baby, and paid someone else for their baby, maybe that’s different. If the woman having the baby does not want it or cannot take care of it, it could be a win/win.

    4. I think it totally sucks that entertainers get paid so much more than nurses, teachers, etc., but our priorities are out of whack, and I don’t see them improving any time soon.

    5. I don’t have anything against the market, but it’s not the end all and be all. There is justice that exists outside of it.

    6. When I think of the bank bonuses I get riled because of it being public money, and the scale is kind of obsene. Even if it wasn’t public money though, the scale is so crazy, and when you think about people having more money than they could possibly spend in their lifetime and other people working 2-3 jobs so they don’t lose their house, well, what more is there to say?

  42. 47 EchoRose in Florida
    February 25, 2010 at 19:21

    As long as it’s consensual, sell & buy…we have traded needs since the dawn of man, we just do it with paper now.
    I think teachers are VERY underpaid, as well as nurses, and I agree that these people don’t think it ethical to abandon their mission in order to be paid what they should be…but also they are underappreciated as well.

    I get upset when I hear about footballers or famous or infamous persons making more than the teachers who are responsible for our futures and the nurses who take care of us today.

  43. 48 Revyloution
    February 25, 2010 at 19:21

    The history of militaries tells us the hazards of private armies.

    If they hold a near monopoly on force, but are only beholden to the government because of a paycheck, it is inevitable that they will overthrow that government at some point. The military should always be beholden to the government.

  44. 49 patti in cape coral
    February 25, 2010 at 19:21

    p.s. Yes, I believe people should be able to sell their organs. Everyone else in this business gets paid, and paid well, afterall.

  45. 50 Petr Baudis
    February 25, 2010 at 19:21

    Hi, I’m Peter from Prague!

    I think the question about the social justice is a very good one, but there are two major issues – who is the judge and how much do you want to enforce it. If you go through with this to the very end, you end up with essentially a totalitarian system, because the judge can never be objective and impartial.

    So I think you should not aim to _enforce_ justice, because you can never do that without actually imposing injustice. The best we can reasonably aim at is preventing cases of extreme _in_justice.

  46. 51 Alan in AZ
    February 25, 2010 at 19:21

    I don’t think I’d trust a Mercenary Army with my safety or the life of my family, friends or the well fair of my Country!

    I’d never pay for a surrogate. If life said, your not having kids, then Nature must be doing it for a reason.

    Pay Bankers on performance as a percentage of the earnings. If they guaranty a return and it doesn’t happen, then they pay me and are fired.

    But I feel every job should be paid according to performance.

    • 52 Irene in Texas
      February 25, 2010 at 20:17

      There are mercenaries fighting for the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan, and not just the Blackwater scum. Senator Cornyn made a big to-do at the naturalization ceremony of new citizens who served in the U.S. military in return for citizenship.

  47. 53 John From San Francisco
    February 25, 2010 at 19:23

    One, basically practical problem for me, is the assumption that you can form market relationships between 2 parties that enter freely. The seeming inevitability of the entry of 3rd parties (broker, traders, etc.) commodifies a good and with that distance between the end user and producer comes the layers that I think can lead to exploitation, whether it is trafficing of humans for labor or sexual exploitation. Strong law has to protect the interests of the producer and end user.

  48. 54 Roy, Boca de Uchire, Venezuela
    February 25, 2010 at 19:23

    Do you think the market should decide everything ?

    No, the reason we have such disparity in society is because of unregulated and deregulated markets, maybe the only regulation should be that a CEO can only make say 10 times the salary of the lowest paid employee

    How about paying for soldiers – mercenaries if you like – to defend your country regardless of their nationality ?

    Mercenaries loyalty is to the highest bidder, if mercenaries areprotecting your borders what is to stop them been bought off by enemies

    Or if you live in the developed world, how about paying for someone in the developing world to have your baby for you ?

    No problem with that as long as the mother is given follow up counciling

    Why is someone who can tell jokes on television paid a fortune while a nurse who saves lives paid a comparative pittance ?

    Because society has it’s priorities all wrong

    Are there some principles of justice that exist independent of what markets promote ? or is an outcome chosen by the market “necessarily just”. ?

    There is no justice in the market because it is a winner take all and cut throat system

  49. 55 Francis in Enugu, Nigeria.
    February 25, 2010 at 19:24

    I believe weight of pay is not dependent our the kind of job one does but on who you work for (employer). Francis in Enugu, Nigeria.

  50. 56 Ollie
    February 25, 2010 at 19:24

    I think the professor should revisit Polly’a topic of Bankers bonuses. Now that many of Britians banks are public due to bail outs should the excesses of the private sector be curbed to match the public sector?

  51. 57 RyanPrice
    February 25, 2010 at 19:26

    I’m a 26 year old male living in Portland, Oregon. I’m a pre-school teacher and a student. My colleagues and I spend entire days with other people’s children feeding, nurturing and caring for them. Our wages are so very minimal that many of us cannot very well afford health care. This concept of radical wage differencs has always seemed to me insulting.

  52. 58 Joshua
    February 25, 2010 at 19:27

    On the pay of, say, a banker vs. the pay of Nurses, I believe the banker commands a higher premium because their service is not necessary. It’s a luxury. People will pay more for a luxury than they will for something they feel they have the right to, like healthcare; and so the banker’s fees reflect that.

  53. 59 Courtney
    February 25, 2010 at 19:27

    People vote with their money, as long as people give money to the banks, celebrities and so on they will always be paid more than nurses, teachers, etc.

  54. 60 EchoRose in Florida
    February 25, 2010 at 19:28


  55. 61 Robyn Lexington, KY USA
    February 25, 2010 at 19:29

    I would like to comment on the question about bankers. My anger with the bankers has to do with the US bankers. I have no problem with them making large bonuses as long as the banks have a good economic health. But some of the banks here are paying the big bonuses at the top and laying off 50,000 people on the bottom end. Many small business go out of business because the owners take out too much money at the top not leaving enough for the business to operate. The bankers are padding their pockets with large bonuses, while the overall health of the banks were poor. Many of them would have failed completely if it hadn’t been for the bailouts. My anger is also directed because the banks who received bail outs were suppose to pass it down and loan money to small business. They did not.

  56. 62 Barbara
    February 25, 2010 at 19:29

    I think there is a lot of false dychotomy going on in this discussion. For example with the bankers — should the market give them whatever their paycheck or should they be paid as much as nurses. Well the answer is no to both: and the reason is that consent has gotten hugely muddied. The people who gave their money to be invested by the bank or who got a credit card or a bank account did not give consent. They wanted a service and with the service tacked on, often poorly explained, many times fraudulently applied, the bankers take a host of extra fees and with that they pay themselves these salaries. The problem is the opportunity and reward for corruption is enormous and the risk is negligible.

    And as for mercenaries, they are used because they allow a government to skirt accountability. That’s why they are immoral, not because they are paid.

  57. 63 jens
    February 25, 2010 at 19:29

    his questions look deep on the surface but are ultimatly rather shallow.

    Do you think regulations and restrictions further competativness?

    don’t we pay soldiers already?????

    why should the third world be different, since we have already surrogate mothers her, who do this for money?

    the pay of a comedian depends on his popularity, and why do we always use the example of the nurse? what about trash collectors, they do at least as much for public health if not more….ahhhh nurses are symbol of caring, just like furry little animals deserve more of our bleeding hearts than a pig or hyena.

    why only bankers and not other CEO’s? point is that yes their saleries are high, but plenty are paid this money because they are worth it, since they contribute to the increase in profit. it is for the shareholders of a compnay to decide and not joe six-pack..

    can I have now a job at Harvard please?

  58. February 25, 2010 at 19:30

    People in the UK hate intellectuals ,being “merely academic” is not respected.

    do you think the market should decide everything?
    No,it is too blunt an instrument.Free trade,fair trade and open markets which are regulated are necessary.
    India does not have a free trade,fair trade nor open markets.
    The law is arcane the judicial system cumbersome ,corrupt and unjust(the PM and the minister of law and Justice have said so)

  59. 65 steve
    February 25, 2010 at 19:30

    IF there is a fundamental right to live, and the example of the death penalty is given, should abortion be legal? If a condemned criminal has a fundamental right to live, why doesn’t an innocent child have that same right? Here in the west, it is considered a fundamental right for women to be able to have abortions. Does that conflict with a fundamental right to live? Are some fundamental rights more important than others?

  60. 66 Mr. Kawakubo {PORTLAND}
    February 25, 2010 at 19:30

    Nurses get paid fairly well already—I’m pretty sure they get paid more then many teachers. They also seem like a cliche, and an easy choice for Mr. Sandel’s question. He essentially asks if a nurse is morally superior, to someone who is merely flying a plane, or operating the power plant that is powering the hospital. Or the manufacturer that produces the hospital beds, the needles, the scrubs, the sheets. All these things are integral to what the nurse does. Professions don’t exist in a vacuum. What about the teacher that teaches the nurse? They often get paid less then the nurse! Maybe a better, more complex question: why should a stripper, or prostitute, make more money then a teacher or a maid?

    I assume comedians get paid well because they are scarce or at least the opportunities are scarce. Whereas there are hospitals and sick people in every city. It is also a creative profession, many might call it an art. Despite the importance of a nurse, its nearness to life and death, it is merely a trade, almost anyone can learn it with some intense studying. Nurse generally don’t get remembered in the history books.

  61. 67 jade
    February 25, 2010 at 19:30

    Work is a service like product supply and demand. If a skill is needed and scarce, the worker can demand higher salary. If the worker provides high quality service no one else can provide, the worker can demand higher salary. The celeb phonomenon is a social fad. Their popularity can rise and fall quickly. Human nature is such that either they work for intangible incentives as in labour of passion, or work for tangible incentives as in means to acquire money, fame, and power.

  62. 68 Irene in Texas
    February 25, 2010 at 19:31

    Bankers should be in jail as should their cohorts who handed them our tax dollars. They produce nothing, they contribute nothing to our economy. They warped our democracy starting in the Reagan administration and continuing through the Clinton administration. They dug their own grave by driving property values artificially high, now it’s the taxpayers who pay the price for their criminal stupidity.

  63. 69 Tom D Ford
    February 25, 2010 at 19:32

    “How about paying for soldiers – mercenaries if you like – to defend your country regardless of their nationality ?”

    Here is the US we already have an exclusively mercenary Military. The military leaders like that because they don’t have dissenters in the ranks.

    But the advantage of a draft Military that I see is that the draftees keep the military honest, they bitch to their Congress people when the military does something illegal and or immoral. Many people hate to be drafted and forced to fight in some illegal war, so they help keep the nation honest.

    So I think that there should be a universal draft and all people trained to use guns for defense and serve two years in the military and then two years in public service holding babies in hospitals, maintaining trails in public parks, or some other kind of positive public service.

    I like the Representative Dennis Kucinich idea of a Department of Peace, and would support drafting people into that.

  64. 70 Steve R in Florida
    February 25, 2010 at 19:35

    The draft (conscription) is a horrible idea that did not work. Today’s American military is a much more professional force, filled with those who volunteered to serve. Today’s force is better educated, healthier, and more disciplined than the “draft-era” military. The health-care and retirement benefits are great perks for serving in the military, but these benefits come with a lot of sacrifice.

  65. 71 steve
    February 25, 2010 at 19:35

    Should Harvard Professors get paid more than elementary school teachers?

  66. February 25, 2010 at 19:38

    Yes, bankers are a luxury, and that explains how and why bankers currently receive large salaries. However, that explanation is neither a moral justification for the salaries nor an indication of how we should live as a society. On the level of justice, it seems bankers receive undue rewards simply because their labor puts them close to capital and they reach for what’s on hand. On the converse side, bankers don’t seem to pay any of the consequences of their actions. Were bankers to suffer in ways commensurate with their misdeeds and poor work, perhaps we’d feel their salaries were more just.

  67. 73 Jorg
    February 25, 2010 at 19:41

    On the issue of nurses’ pay versus bankers’ pay. That’s hard to judge.

    In any case I don’t think that anyone on the planet should receive higher salary than the US president who receives something like US$ 400,000 p/a.

    If he doesn’t have the most important job that should attract the most pay, then who has?

  68. 74 Mr. Kawakubo {PORTLAND}
    February 25, 2010 at 19:41

    A sports star is an easy target, because there job is mainly physical. So it is easy to discount its worth. I would be interested in what Mr. Sandel thinks about questions like these: What about an artist? Do they deserve to make a lot of money? What about JK Rowling? What about artists versus the creator of a life saving medical treatment? Should the person that came up with the cancer drug get paid more then the nurse who administers it?

  69. February 25, 2010 at 19:42

    Mercenaries in the Armed forces are OK by me .
    There are mercenaries in the UK armed forces Gurkhas and Commonwealth citizens plus a disproportionate number of Scots,Irish and Welsh.

    Nurses are paid more in the USA,Canada and Australia and therefore qualified nurses from all over the world migrate to where they are valued.

    Good Comedy is rare(have you seen British TV,nothing new or good since the Office/Ricky Gervais)valued and richly rewarded

    Bankers pay themselves therefore they set up a system which will renumerate their own kind handsomely.

  70. 76 Tom D Ford
    February 25, 2010 at 19:43

    “Do you think the market should decide everything ?”

    People talk about the “market” as if it is a living entity apart from The People, but markets do not exist without involving The People. Markets ought to be made to serve The people instead of The People serving The “Markets” as we have currently.

    Now if you have ever studied business, you know that business schools teach their students to find some niche in their market and then monopolize and dominate it. Those business practices distort any market and prevent consumers from making well informed and free decisions about what they want or need to purchase.

    Businesses do not want The People to have access to a Free Market, they only want The People to have access to what the businesses want them to choose from.

  71. 77 Anya
    February 25, 2010 at 19:44

    I think the important thing we should ask is how to do the right thing. Even when we all agree what is right and wrong, it is very hard to create a system that would not be abused.

    I was born in former Soviet Union. Almost every one in the West is aware of what a huge moral disaster it was, but it was a country that at some point tried to create a just society, with equal opportunity for all, free education, free health care, free housing and no unemployment.

    I live in the US now and sadly witness the limitations of the democracy when there are too many people who cast their votes based on ignorance, misinformation or pure self interest.

  72. 78 Ken (Portland, OR, USA)
    February 25, 2010 at 19:44

    My mom is the head of the investment banking division at the bank she works for in Asia. Last year despite the global recession her division made hundreds of millions of USD for her bank. Her reward is a relatively paltry 50, 000 USD bonus. I think in the US she would have been rewarded many times that, of millions of dollars. Why is it then that this greed amongst investment bankers seems to be only in the western societies? How is this fair, or just?

  73. February 25, 2010 at 19:46

    You are talking as if you don’t have mercenaries. England has a quite a lot of Nepalis fighting for them as Gorkha soldiers. They join because it pays a whole lot than what they would be able to earn here. Their salaries run economies of a few towns. And they are probably the highest paid group of people from this country.

  74. 80 EchoRose in Florida
    February 25, 2010 at 19:47

    Professor Sandel is asking questions instead of answering them; he already knows the answers and is brilliantly leading the listeners on a philosophy path to arrive at those answers.

  75. 82 Suzy in Portland OR
    February 25, 2010 at 19:47

    How is hiring mercernaries to fight for our America any different than hiring contract defense companies such as Blackwater in Iraq?

  76. 83 marcus
    February 25, 2010 at 19:48

    It seems to me that the root of these ethical questions of military service, pay and so forth, has to do with apparently overwhelming value that humanity puts on enjoying life more than just existing. In some countries the struggle for survival places a slightly higher value on maintaining life. In countries where survival is easier to achieve, then a higher premium is placed on things that increases the joy in life.

  77. 84 AJ Averett
    February 25, 2010 at 19:48

    Good Day,

    Mercenaries? Hired on behalf of us citizens of the United States?

    Absolutely not – for ANY reason, anywhere. Period. No discussion.

    That we have been employing, and continue to employ, the likes of Blackwater and their ilk is an abomination – and says more about what this nation has devolved to than anything else we do. As an American, I am disgusted and ashamed.

    To paraphrase William Blake in his “Auguries of Innocence,” “Whores and gamblers – and mercenaries – by the State, licensed build that nation’s fate.”

  78. 85 Abraham in Austin
    February 25, 2010 at 19:49

    When the mighty make decisions about the value of labor, kings live in splendid castles.

    When the rich make decisions about the value of labor, merchants live in palaces.

    When “moralists” make decisions about the value of labor, priests and philosophers live in gilded temples.

    Power is power, and Justice is relative and arguable.

  79. 86 steve
    February 25, 2010 at 19:49

    I have a question for the professor, should those who pay more in taxes get greater rights and benefits? If I pay $20,000 a year at least in federal income taxes, and some people not only pay nothing, but actually GET money from the government, should I have some form of compensation, such as an extra vote? If not, why am I a lesser citizen for getting the same rights, but have to pay more in taxes?

  80. 87 anthony
    February 25, 2010 at 19:50

    The term morality is the problem in my opinion as my opinion of morality is most likely not the same as the person next to me, so whos right? A third party who decides? Why ask the question in the first place.

  81. 88 Moria
    February 25, 2010 at 19:51

    How do we accout for power brokers or concentrations of power in the market? Bankers are power brokers. Governments are concentrations of power. For example a governments large concentrations of resources can overwhelm an otherwise fair market and therefore might us right often in that case.

  82. 89 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    February 25, 2010 at 19:51

    Requiring payment of taxes is entirely different from requiring military service. It’s not a slippery slope. It’s no slope at all.

    San Francisco

  83. February 25, 2010 at 19:51

    As regards to bankers: banks as a corporation are in business to make a profit by serving the needs of their customers. A part of that profit is then paid to shareholders in the form of dividends. Excessive pay to executives diminishes the pool of dividends. To make matters worse, execuitives get part of their pay through bonuses which they get even if they run the company into the ground as we have seen. Coprorate governance has run amuck.

  84. February 25, 2010 at 19:51

    Citizen armies sound the best idea for me,i.e. Israel and switzerland.

  85. 92 Jim Markovics
    February 25, 2010 at 19:51

    Professor Sandell has posed a misleading question by describing markets as an agreement between two consenting individuals. Such markets are an extremely small subset of human activity. There are no agreements between two consenting individuals that don’t involve or impact others. So the mere fact that two individuals (or organizations) coming to some transactional agreement provides no basis for justice. None. Nada.

    Justice must involve the rest of society. Consider Global Climate Change. We already have seen the effects of agreements between so-called “consenting” parties (consider your bankers) on the world economy. You already have recognized the impact of various professions on society, independent of remuneration.

    Justice must be reflective of the larger society, and now that we’re a global world, that means there must be a subset of justice that are universal. The subset of local justice must be approaching the null set.

  86. 93 Tom
    February 25, 2010 at 19:52

    Since I turned 18 and recieved my selective service number in the first week of october 2001 (this is not currently used for a draft in the US) I’ve thought a lot about the fairness of voluntary service. I have to say that throughout that time period I have only become more convinced that there ought to be either blind drafts or mandatory service for everyone. In peacetime, and more importantly in war time.
    The defense of a nation is something that each individual has a stake in, and in wars of conquest or expansion it is important that those who stand to gain financially also have to face the fact that they, or their children stand to lose their life. It only seems just, and in a democracy or republic it might very well go a long way to prevent wars of choice.
    I would never volunteer for the armed services simply because I have the resources not to. It is self preservation, and while natural it is contrary to the nature of national warfare. I would however serve without hesitation if a fair system called me to duty. We all like to talk about mutual dependance when it is conveinient to us, however I think that htere are instances in which the society must interrupt this natural inclination.

    Portland OR, USA

  87. February 25, 2010 at 19:52

    I don’t think a woman in the developing world would have sufficient knowledge to give adequate faetal nutrition and stimulation to the standard a prospective western customer desires.(they can have a baby for you but would it be a quality baby)

  88. 95 Suzy in Portland OR
    February 25, 2010 at 19:53

    If we are paying people based on their contribution to society then trash collectors should be paid a lot more. Just imagine if our trash collectors went on strike for a month. We would be willing to pay them what ever they asked to get back to work. Many professions fall into this category and we must realize that all work is valuable in its own right.

    • 96 Revyloution
      February 25, 2010 at 19:58

      Suzy, one of my brother in laws is a trash collector in Portland.

      He makes a fine income, and has a nice home. I think you would be surprised at the wealth available in garbage collection in the US.

  89. 97 BBC Fan
    February 25, 2010 at 19:54

    Re: Pay issue for Banker and Nurse

    Every body just cares about what is on their own plates and don’t care about what is in the kitchens.

  90. 98 Tom D Ford
    February 25, 2010 at 19:55

    I have wondered about Regulating the economy so that anyone who reaches some sum of wealth, say 10 million US dollars, fifty million, 100 million, even 500 million, some set amount, well that person has won and is now out of the game, he/she can no longer participate, he/she has to go do something else, like paint, travel etc.

    Good parents don’t let their three year old child greedily take all of the cookies out of the family cookie jar, they limit what the kid can take, and we, the human family, ought to do the same.

  91. 99 steve
    February 25, 2010 at 19:55

    Footballers are at physical risk of getting injured, exerting themselves, etc.. That’s why professional athletes are highly compensated.

    There’s a reason why lawyers make more than teachers. Because teaching tends to be low hour, low stress work, while lawyers work themselves to early graves. The money is the compensation for the shorter life, the lack of a social life, etc…

    There are tradeoffs in life.

    • 100 Irene in Texas
      February 26, 2010 at 21:28

      Teaching is a very stressful career which can also have big (although not monetary) rewards. Teaching does not stop when the school day ends. There are hours of preparation, grading, coaching, committee work. They frequently have long commutes because they cannot afford to buy a house in the neighborhood where they teach. Teachers are attacked in the classroom much more than lawyers in courtrooms. In order to keep a class’s attention, they have to be comedians, with a very tough audience to boot.

      I have no idea why sports figures are paid so much. My daughter and I joked that if we had Tivoli, we could record the superbowl and edit out the game so we could enjoy the commercials by themselves.

  92. 101 Mr. Kawakubo {PORTLAND}
    February 25, 2010 at 19:55

    We already outsource our defenses collectively by having an army, that isn’t us, in the first place. Soldiers after-all are paid for their ‘work.’ Outsourcing the army a degree further is of little consequence or difference to many people.

    Taxes are different from military service. Choosing to fight and engage in violence is many degrees above merely paying for services you feel the government is providing and you are benefiting from. You cannot live in a country and generally avoid receiving benefit from things provided by taxes. You can most certainly live in a country without supporting its military agenda. Being willing to give up your own life for the whims of nationalism is an entirely different argument, especially when you think about whether the military is acting in offense, rather then defense.

  93. 102 Sarah
    February 25, 2010 at 19:56

    While justice and fairness are defined separately, what about Rawls’s definition of Justice as Fairness?

  94. February 25, 2010 at 19:57

    I listen to the program but I think the whole discussion is baseless… the world is not and will never be fair… there will never be justice in this world as the world is not just from time immemorial. I think the discussion should have been is God JUST?…. and lets check and see, countries like Somalia, what happen to HAiti and look at how God decide to favour others like Dubai, Saudi…. this is what we should be discussion and since we all know no solution or reason for this imbalance then their is no point for the discussion.

    Ihas Idriess

  95. 104 Mohamed Ibrahim
    February 25, 2010 at 20:03

    I think the answer to Justice and Pay-scale lies not in Salary cap, but in individual consumers value added tax based on an individual income level. The higher an individual makes the higher their end-of-year value-added-tax rises and solely based on their consumption at the end of the year. This will require Governments interventions in ensuring justice in society in regards to social justice and social mobility. I do think that the Governments should not control market prices, and let the Aggregate Demand and Aggregate Supply forces to markets. I personally think interest rates, and Gambling do contribute to social injustice in society as well.

  96. 105 viola
    February 25, 2010 at 20:05

    I enjoyed this show immensely. Thank you, WHYS.

    From my own investigation of the difference between fairness and justice, which is ongoing because they must be considered each time an issue comes up, I have gleaned at least one gem: Fairness is really nice and difficult to object to, while justice can be very hard and unpleasant, as is obvious if a murderer is executed by the state when found guilty by a court.


  97. 106 Tom D Ford
    February 25, 2010 at 20:05

    On markets:

    If you have ever been around or studied the very wealthy you know that they don’t compete with each other, they collude with each other. They divide up the markets among themselves and then manipulate them to their own advantage.

    So the “Free Market” does not exist in reality and never has. That leaves the question of how we ought to Regulate the Markets, to the advantage of the already wealthy or the advantage of the most people, the Commons.

  98. 107 steve
    February 25, 2010 at 20:08

    Garbagemen are paid quite well actually. The question should be, if we’re concerned about equality, why don’t feminists demand that 50% of garbage collectors be female instead of just insisted that half of CEOs should be female?

  99. 108 jens
    February 25, 2010 at 20:18


    what if there is no GOD? the level of unfairnes is pretty much an indication that thereis no GOD. why should white folks be better of than colored folks. Is GOD white and a rasist?

    the question of fairness can not be answered by questioning GOD. the question of fairness can only be answered by looking into/at yourself and how you interact with people. Are you a fair person to your fellow man and how can you make sure that you stay fair and true to yourself. God will not be the awnser, only you yourself can decide.

  100. 109 pendkar
    February 25, 2010 at 20:25

    I would’nt say that Prof.Sandel is deflecting the questions. He is pointing out the importance of keeping these questions alive. Market forces are effective agents, but they have limitations. It needs to be complemented by social conscience.

    The service and responsibility point of view serves society too, but society needs to work to put in effort to keep that mechanism alive. the market principle, on the other hand, thrives on its own. But should you abandon a few generations of people to lack of medical attention, while waiting for the market forces to adjust themselves? No, and the answer is based on common morality.

  101. 110 T
    February 25, 2010 at 23:51

    Sandel’s ideas won’t work because of human nature. Greed being the first problem.

    Look at the global economic meltdown. Despite that, many bankers will look you in the eye and say controls are bad. Why? Again, greed.

    To implement a lot of his ideas you need to deal with a wide range of issues (everything from war to the economy to racism and more). But we’re not quite ready to do that.

  102. 111 spunkitydoda
    February 26, 2010 at 07:44

    What I hear is greed and envy.

    We need to accept that there are extremes that mandate exceptions, and exceptions that should be made on extremes.
    Our best friends are around us. Embrace them, not the salaries of anyone else.
    We make choices. Accept them as appropriate for now. Life is a process.
    Live simply and vote with your dollar. Free market means letting us be the judge.
    Our individual potential is lost every time we try to further regulate each other.
    Precious time is lost in bureaucracy. Self regulate. Help those around you.
    Cut people a break. Lend a hand. Work together and set your differences behind.
    Appreciate what you have.

    Partisan politics has our economy in a bind. The problem started when Woodrow Wilson started the Federal Reserve, how much do we owe for the social justice that we just bought? How much does Ben Bernanke earn? Lavish? Bankers love money, and they are in bed with those in power.

    Max, beautiful writing.

  103. February 26, 2010 at 16:34

    corporate industry has ruined rural india where 70% of indian population resides the market has no role for poor vulnerable and downtrodden.

  104. February 27, 2010 at 14:12

    Milton Friedman and Maynard Keynes are two sides of the same coin. How the coin is minted matters most.

  105. March 1, 2010 at 09:32

    In what the basic problem of the economic market? There is a set of economic theories, considering them it is possible to agree. But in fact our question will consist, why the free market does not work, in what a principal cause? In fact the policy should serve business and stand on its interests

  106. March 1, 2010 at 10:14

    Throughout centuries the imperial form of government was more successful sufficient and enough effective at the decision of challenges facing to a society and the state. Empire this state formation where idea of a unification of a society on religious, cultural, world outlook concepts, thus observing a traditional way of life of the small people. All empires were created voluntary for maintenance of the safety, harmonious blossoming of all nations occupying empire, and for maintenance of interests of all ethnoses entering into the state design of empire. Where the aspiration to survive was national idea and then in a consequence to join spiritually moral rod values is state the forming nation. We can result examples of formation of the Russian empire. Where people all practically voluntary were a part of the Russian empire. And if there was no 1917 the Russian empire would develop in the powerful uniform national state. Precisely same phenomena and processes developed and in 90 years of the last century where the population of all country was formed in a uniform society, a uniform economic organism, uniform cultural and educational positive values of integrity and stability of a society.

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