In "What Money Can't Buy," Michael Sandel asks the questions "Do we want a society where everything is up for sale? Or are there certain moral and civic goods that markets do not honor and money cannot buy?" to which NYT's Nicholas Kristof remarks:
This issue goes to the heart of fairness in our country. There has been much discussion recently about economic inequality, but almost no conversation about the way the spread of markets nurtures a broader, systemic inequality.
Market fundamentalism, Kristof observes, "is gaining ground:"
It's related to the glorification of wealth over the last couple of decades, to the celebration of opulence, and to the emergence of a new aristocracy. Market fundamentalists assume a measure of social Darwinism and accept that laissez-faire is always optimal.
That's the dogma that helped lead to bank deregulation and the current economic mess. And anyone who honestly believes that low taxes and unfettered free markets are always best should consider moving to Pakistan's tribal areas. They are a triumph of limited government, negligible taxes, no "burdensome regulation" and free markets for everything from drugs to AK-47s.
If you're infatuated with unfettered free markets, just visit Waziristan.
Paul Waldman brings the sarcasm in it's hard out there for a billionaire,
America's barons feel assaulted, victimized, wounded in ways that not even a bracing ride to your Hamptons estate in your new Porsche 911 can salve. And now that the presidential campaign is in full swing, their tender feelings are being hurt left and right.
Pyramid-scheme tycoon Frank Vandersloot is the national finance co-chair of Romney's campaign (to which he donated $1 million), but he whines that the Obama campaign's mention of this fact is equivalent to being placed on an "enemies list:"
What VanderSloot obviously wants is a situation in which he can put millions of dollars into influencing the course of elections and policy debates, but nobody ever criticizes him for it. Well, that's just not how things work in a democracy.