Topic: The Moral Limits of Markets
Michael Sandel: I'm also engaged now in a project … the moral limits of markets. What are the spheres that … where markets and market-oriented thinking should govern ... should be decisive? And it strikes me that the answer to that questions also forces us to think about ... also forces us to think about fundamental questions of value, and maybe even spiritual questions bordering on what some would consider to be theological or religious terrain. And so I think that moral and … that taking some of the disparate questions that are intriguing in contemporary political philosophy require us to address some big questions about … of a moral and spiritual kind that contemporary political philosophy has tried to set to one side. And that … we can't really answer the question, I don’t think, what is the proper role of markets? What are the cultural values that should perhaps resist market values? And what is the proper role for our biotechnological prowess and power in transforming … . We can't address those questions, I don't think, without raising fundamental questions about what it means to be a human being; what is the relation between human beings in a given world; and what are the moral and spiritual sources that often underlie the political debates we have?
Recorded on: 6/12/07
Michael Sandel: I think the reason we have such an impoverished public debate is that we are too reluctant to take on hard controversial, but important moral questions that really go to the heart of the question...