What Isn't for Sale

Running head: Interpretation of Michael Sandel’s: “What isn’t for Sale?”

Interpretation of Michael Sandel’s:
“What isn’t for Sale?”
Ruben Pinedo
University of Texas at El Paso

Interpretation of Michael Sandel’s: “What isn’t for Sale?”

Michael Sandel, a professor at Harvard University, has gathered rather unusual arguments to suggest that some values in this world are just simply priceless and should not be converted into commodities. Such references include prisoners in California paying to upgrade their cell for ninety dollars per day, Indian surrogate mothers for American couples being paid one-third the price of American surrogate mothers, the rights to pollute the atmosphere with carbon monoxide emissions, selling a person’s body for advertising to make extra money for the family, and the list goes on. Sandel isn’t boasting about the rewards from these outrageous market-economy examples but rather bringing to the forefront the question if we as a society have gone too far?
The articles states, “In hopes of avoiding sectarian strife, we often insist that citizens leave their moral and spiritual convictions behind when they enter the public square. But the reluctance to admit arguments about the good life into politics has had an unanticipated consequence. It has helped prepare the way for market triumphalism, and for the continuing hold of market reasoning.” (Sandel, 2012) What he means by this is that society treats a lot of things as goods that can be bought and sold. He goes on to say, “This nonjudgmental stance toward values lies at the heart of market reasoning, and explains much of its appeal. But our reluctance to engage in moral and spiritual argument, together with our embrace of markets, has exacted a heavy price: it has drained public discourse of moral and civic energy, and contributed to the technocratic, managerial politics afflicting many societies today.” (Sandel, 2012) He is suggesting this movement towards market-values is...