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Justice with Michael Sandel

Welcome to Justice!

Justice is one of the most popular courses in Harvard's history, and has captivated more than 14,000 students.

Now it's your turn to hone your critical-thinking skills and explore the moral decisions we all face in our lives. Check out this short introduction video and begin your journey.

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About What Money Can’t Buy

The Moral Limits of Markets

Michael Sandel’s newest book, What Money Can’t Buy, discusses the markets that are expanding into different realms of peoples’ daily lives. How are these shifts changing the way people do tasks? Are we allowing money to dictate too much? Sandel discusses the moral implications of these markets with questions such as the following: should prisoners to be able to pay for different, better cells than non-paying prisoners? Should companies be able to buy and sell the right to pollute? Where would you draw the line between markets and morals?

“There are some things money can’t buy; these days, not many. Today, almost everything is up for sale.”


Reviews of What Money Can’t Buy

“There is no more fundamental question we face than how to best preserve the common good and build strong communities that benefit everyone. Sandel’s book is an excellent starting place for that dialogue”— Kevin J. Hamilton, The Seattle Times

“To understand the importance of [Michael's] purpose, you first have to grasp the full extent of the triumph achieved by market thinking in economics, and the extent to which that thinking has spread to other domains. This school sees economics as a discipline that has nothing to do with morality, and is instead the study of incentives, considered in an ethical vacuum. Sandel’s book is, in its calm way, an all-out assault on that idea, and on the influential doctrine that the economic approach to “utility maximisation” explains all human behaviour… Sandel is methodical about assembling evidence to refute the idea that markets are amoral and have no moral impact.”— John Lancaster, The Guardian

“What Money Can’t Buy is the work of a truly public philosopher. . . [It] recalls John Kenneth Galbraith’s influential 1958 book, The Affluent Society. . .Galbraith lamented the impoverishment of the public square. Sandel worries about its abandonment—or, more precisely, its desertion by the more fortunate and capable among us. . .[A]n engaging, compelling read, consistently unsettling. . . it reminds us how easy it is to slip into a purely material calculus about the meaning of life and the means we adopt in pursuit of happiness.”— David M. Kennedy, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas

“The task Sandel’s book invites us to undertake is to discern where the lines should be drawn between the marketable and the unmarketable, the things that have a price and those that are priceless. We might have individual views about this, but Sandel’s point is a larger one: that we should formulate such a view as a society, as a culture; and we should do so long before matters so evolve that — say — shooters can buy licenses to hunt down convicted criminals in our own woods and fields.”— A.C. Grayling, Barnes and Noble Review

“Michael Sandel has brought all different elements of society to face the problem, debate it and stop society from unraveling. I truly applaud a scholar, who has successfully taken a philosophical debate outside of the confined space of a classroom, in a manner that gives all of the participants the power to affect change.”— Gil Shidlo, London School of Economics

“What Money Can’t Buy … like Justice … is intelligent, readable, and stimulating. Accessible to a broad audience and yet offering a carefully constructed and rigorous argument, it applies Sandel’s thinking to one particular issue – namely, the ways in which markets and market values have come to rule our lives.”— Simon Choat, Marx and Philosophy

“[Michael Sandel] challenges all of us to look at how we’ve allowed markets to pervade our public life.”— Michael Fitzgerald, The Daily Beast

“Poring through Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel’s new book, “What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets,” I found myself over and over again turning pages and saying, ‘I had no idea.’”— Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times

Michael Sandel's book Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?, a New York Times best seller, relates the big questions of political philosophy to the most vexing issues of our time: bank bailouts, equality and inequality, taxes, immigration, affirmative action, the role of markets, national service, same-sex marriage, the place of religion in politics, and the ethical questions we confront in our everyday lives.

The book can be found here: Paperback / Hardcover / Audio CD / Audiobook [iTunes]