Should you be able to sell your kidney? Should we auction off the right to immigrate? What about paying people to vote? Is there anything wrong with profiting from a stranger’s death? What about scalping tickets to a rock concert — or to a doctor’s appointment?
Michael Sandel leads twelve exceptional college students from around the world in asking where markets serve the public good, and where they don’t belong. What, if anything, is wrong with a world in which everything is for sale? Insights from experts like former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz pepper the emotional debates, which are alternately heated and humorous.
In six original episodes we will explore what kind of society we truly are, and begin to define what kind of society we hope to be.
1: Sex Sells, But Should It?
Are there legitimate grounds for discrimination in the business world? This episode explores the hiring practices of Abercrombie & Fitch, Hooters, and even OBGYNs. Is it okay to hire attractive sales clerks and flight attendants, or is “lookism” comparable to racism and sexism. Larry Summers thinks our workplace must reflect society’s commitment to civil rights, but has no problem with “the Boston Celtics hiring tall people.” Robert Barro goes further, suggesting that physical attractiveness, like intelligence, is a legitimate basis for discrimination.
2: The Body Market
3: The Walrus Quota
4: Supply Shock
5: The Golden Door
6: The Death Pool
Sandel is a philosopher with the global profile of a rock star. He’s a Harvard professor who doesn’t just lecture in halls, but in stadiums.
Sandel is currently the most effective communicator of ideas in English.
The best Socratic dialogue since Socrates.