I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to this year’s Reith Lecturesby Professor Sandel. He asked some tough questions that face us today and one that stopped me in my tracks was one about the role of markets in achieving public good.
Have markets been disconnected from the public value and if so how do we remedy them? Is it that we have become so greedy or are markets simply responding to demand. Can greed be put to some good use or specifically public good?
Are there things that money can buy but should not buy? He cited examples such as outsourcing security in war torn areas, paying surrogate mothers, access to health care and education as well as refugees!
Should refugees fleeing war torn areas be required to pay $50,000 for an American green card for instance ? Or is a better way to market refugees? How would this work? If Japan had to take in 10, 000 refugees as an obligation but didn’t want to and instead chose to enter into negotiations with Uganda to take on these refugees for a fee. That would enable Japan to meet its obligation and provide Uganda with an income, and provide refugees with somewhere safe to live but would this be fair to the refugees. Is it ethical or morally right to sell refugees?
These are tough questions folk. There are implications for whatever choices we make. Is Equality the same as being fair?
Should UK politicians have claimed all that money simply because they were entitled to it? Were their actions ethical? Do markets have a role to play in ethics? How do you balance it all? Where do we draw the line.
I would be interested in your views on the issues raised in Reith Lectures