What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets

· Sold by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
36 reviews

About this ebook

In What Money Can't Buy, renowned political philosopher Michael J. Sandel rethinks the role that markets and money should play in our society.

Should we pay children to read books or to get good grades? Should we put a price on human life to decide how much pollution to allow? Is it ethical to pay people to test risky new drugs or to donate their organs? What about hiring mercenaries to fight our wars, outsourcing inmates to for-profit prisons, auctioning admission to elite universities, or selling citizenship to immigrants willing to pay?

In his New York Times bestseller What Money Can't Buy, Michael J. Sandel takes up one of the biggest ethical questions of our time: Isn't there something wrong with a world in which everything is for sale? If so, how can we prevent market values from reaching into spheres of life where they don't belong? What are the moral limits of markets?

Over recent decades, market values have crowded out nonmarket norms in almost every aspect of life. Without quite realizing it, Sandel argues, we have drifted from having a market economy to being a market society.

In Justice, an international bestseller, Sandel showed himself to be a master at illuminating, with clarity and verve, the hard moral questions we confront in our everyday lives. Now, in What Money Can't Buy, he provokes a debate that's been missing in our market-driven age: What is the proper role of markets in a democratic society, and how can we protect the moral and civic goods that markets do not honor and money cannot buy?

Ratings and reviews

36 reviews
falah fakhriyah
February 11, 2024
A very good read, and a fun one at that as the author includes real life examples that are too funny (or wicked) to be true. The author ends the book with a fundamental question on how we want to define our lives as citizens of democratized countries.
Did you find this helpful?
Dylan Sklar
September 16, 2018
Not absolutely worthless, but handles the morality of markets in an almost oversimplified way. The vast majority of the book is not-so-brief recantations of horrifying uses of marketing which leads to an unsatisfying call to action - let's talk about the morality of marketing. Overall, not terribly written, and the use of first person at least makes the terribly dry task of suffering through the exhaustive list of examples slightly more readable.
5 people found this review helpful
Did you find this helpful?
A Google user
September 19, 2012
Pretty interesting if you are into economics. Had to read it for class, but ended up really enjoying it. The only fault is that it gets pretty repetitive and sends the same message over and over in slightly differently ways.
Did you find this helpful?

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 recent books include the international bestseller Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?

Rate this ebook

Tell us what you think.

Reading information

Smartphones and tablets
Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.
Laptops and computers
You can listen to audiobooks purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.
eReaders and other devices
To read on e-ink devices like Kobo eReaders, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Follow the detailed Help Center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.