American Politic Philosophy Harvard Professor Michael Sandel Gave A Lecture in Antai Forum

Publisher : MBA办公室       Dec.21,2012

  In the evening of Dec.15th, 2012, Professor Michael Sandel, the famous politic philosophy from Harvard University came to Shanghai Jiao Tong University Antai College of Economics and Management to give a lecture under the topic of What Money Can’t Buy in the Antai Froum, which was presided by the deputy dean of ACEM Professor Lyu Wei.

Professor Lyu Wei presided the forum

  As a famous Communitarianist of the modern western society, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Science, Professor Sandel, who was named the the "most influential foreign figure of the year" in China by China Newsweek attracted a large amount of audience. Differing from the traditional speech, Professor Sandel, whose courses is one of the most highly attended in Harvard’s history, interacted with the audience by keeping asking questions to and arousing debates among the audience to extend the lecture.

  When free market encounters ethics

  A 17-year-old young man sold one of his kidneys for iPad and iPhone. Can human body take part in market activity? Is it fair to trade health or even life for money? Does the young man have a complete concept of ethics value? A heated discussion started the forum. Then Professor Sandel asked another question: is it reasonable to pay money and hire someone else to wait in a long line in front of the apple’s store for a new iPhone? Although there were audience think the buying time with money complies the principle of economic benefits. Professor Sandel, however, argued that the question was more about ethics than about economic benefits, when “first come first served” was such a self-explanatory ethic principle and money deprived others rights in this case.

  When monetary transactions hit the bottom line of ethics, it seems most of the people consider it important to respect and protect public order. Therefore, we should think about how to control the so called freedom in market and where the boundary of ethics is.

Professor Sandel was speaking

the audience were answering the questions of Professor Sandel

the lecture hall was crowded to the full capacity

  Market economy = market society?

  Another controversial question casted by Professor Sandel was about the education. If the school auction 10% of the quota of the number of students to be enrolled and use the money to facilitate the infrastructure which benefits all the students, is that reasonable enough? And again it caused an argument in the lecture hall. Whether it is a triple-win of school, ordinary students and rich students, or it harmed the decent education rights? Is there any other solution for school to achieve the same purpose with no dubious violation of social norms?

  What money can’t buy?

  During the two hours, Professor Sandel led the audience to an exciting discussion about free market and ethics. With the simple but blade-like questions he raised, the audience cut through the surface of common market activities and see its true nature.

Professor Sandel was signing his books for fans

  The rapid development of the world economy brings all forms of free transaction into our life. After the lecture, the audience began to understand that there were areas separated from pure market. “Market economy is not market society. There are things that money can’t buy. ” said Professor Sandel. His lecture left people thinking about the role of market in the modern society: Since ethics and public order weigh over the market and money, how can we protect them?