Monday, December 28, 2009
Michael Sandel on the failure of markets
As part of its Radio National Summer Programs ABC Radio National is replaying the 2009 Reith Lectures featuring Michael Sandel. Michael Sandel is currently Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government Theory at Harvard University.
In the lectures Sandel explores the prospects of a new politics of the "common good" and develops a sustained critique of the role of markets and market values.
Sandel argues that the expansion of markets and market values into spheres of life traditionally governed by non-market means has had devastating consequences for democracy and for the public good, and was one of the factors contributing to the global financial crises. Instead of extending markets into more spheres Sandel argues that we need to restrict the reach of markets into spheres involving public goods (education, health, transport, housing).
Sandel's is hardly a radical or original critique, but it is an important one. Sandel is a high profile philosopher and writer with a wide audience and the presentation of these ideas in mainstream public forums provides an alternative view to the dominant market triumphalism that continues to dominate the media, public discourse and public policy making in Australia, despite the rhetoric of the Prime Minister and his pro- market government.