Economic Reflections 6: Social Goods and Death Markets

posted in: Economics 0

Charles Taylor, in an essay “Irreducibly Social Goods,” argued for the existence of social goods that cannot be reduced to individual utility or welfare. His argument is that certain goods—e.g., frank and open relationships, self-giving heroism, friendship—cannot exist except in … Read More

Economic Reflections 5: Markets in Public Spaces

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Ch. 5 of Michael Sandel’s What Money Can’t Buy discussed the markets pushed into public spaces. With the increasing social stratification of skyboxes and purchasable privileges in sports arenas, Sandel regrets the loss of a flatter, more egalitarian sense in … Read More

Economic Reflections 4: Markets in Life and Death

posted in: Economics 2

In ch. 4 of What Money Can’t Buy, Michael Sandel discussed markets in life and death: janitors insurance, viaticals, “ghoul pools,” terrorism futures markets, death bonds, all markets that trade value in others’ deaths. I was startled by the breadth … Read More

Economic Reflections 3 (part 2): Utility and Gifts

posted in: Economics 0

In ch. 3 of What Money Can’t Buy, Michael Sandel’s topic was how markets crowd out morals.  Discussing gifts, Sandel cited Joel Waldfogel’s argument that gifts are economically inefficient, rarely satisfying as much as what recipients buy for themselves, thus … Read More

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