Customer Reviews


134 Reviews
5 star:
 (65)
4 star:
 (48)
3 star:
 (12)
2 star:
 (6)
1 star:
 (3)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Urgent and necessary reading
If I'm right in saying that true erudition lies in being able to make the complex both simple and thought-provoking, then Michael Sandel is on a short shortlist for the wisest man alive today.

The creep of market values to overlay or replace other ethical values is one of the most harmful aspects of the Western world today. Why are we in thrall to markets? Why...
Published 17 months ago by B. Waite

versus
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars LIGHTWEIGHT
The topic that this book addresses could hardly be more important, and the author is Professor of Government at Harvard. There is every reason to have high expectations of the book, and indeed it is excellent in some ways, but it ought to have been a great deal better than it is.

I should also say that Professor Sandel is on my own side of the dialectical fence...
Published 9 months ago by DAVID BRYSON


‹ Previous | 112 13 14 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Important thesis but..., 6 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
untimately inconclusive. Lots of great examples to make you think about how the Romantic notion of the self is being degraded by intrusion of market forces into every aspectof life, but he cops out at the end, staying on the fence when it comes to a conclusion or recommendation for change
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Book Review, 16 Dec 2012
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Very interesting perspective on the modern over-consumerist oriented western world, and all that is wrong with it. Should be essential reading for everyone.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Upto his usual standard, 19 Nov 2012
By 
Don Panik (Cambridge UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a very timely book, and I wish all those politicians of a neo-liberal persuasion would read it. If we do live in a market society then I fear for the future, and Sandel very clearly articulates why. If the public assets can be flogged off, and payment by results becomes the new mantra, we have to find a way of putting a value on some of the moral underpinnings of society. Highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exercises in critical thinking, 19 Nov 2012
By 
Adam Smith (Surrey, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a timely book on the limits of the so-called free markets. I say so-called because very few markets are genuinely that, often being characterised by extremes of wealth on the demand side, and oligopolistic supply. Michael Sandel is a great thinker, and you will be stimulated by this exploration of why money should not be allowed to buy everything, and why we might allow it to buy some of the things we previously thought it should not. Sandel explores these issues in a quiet thoughtful philosophical way using logic to tease out the underlying argument. Well worth reading, in an age where it is usual to imagine that everything has its price, and that's ok.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as Gold, 22 Sep 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Absolutely brilliant, thought provoking, and poignantly relevant with the current global economic meltdown. Having followed Sandel's work in justice and ethics, his perspective is well-researched and referenced, and thus reflects authority and veracity through its pages.
Refreshing, thought provoking, and revealing, this is the must read book of the year.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The people who should read this probably won't..., 18 Sep 2012
By 
Alexa (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Economics is dry, and boring unless you are a corporate type who dreams in pound signs - right? Because it only deals with the working of governments and stock markets? Well, maybe that was true twenty years ago.

The financial upheavals of recent years should have taught us to be wary of how effective economic theories are at running things, or predicting future events in these fields. Yet not content with this, economists have claimed a larger and larger remit; whilst refusing to discuss the ethical consequences, on the grounds that we are discussing the science of economics, not philosophy, they have, in effect, turned economic theory into a philosophy, by arguing that it can, and should, be applied to all corners of modern life.

This book examines the consequences of this insidious process. It demonstrates the consequences of applying free market theory in fields that were previously considered the province of ethical debate. And it turns the approach of the economists on its head, and demonstrates the ECONOMIC consequences of ignoring the ethical dimension.

Sandel does not give the answers here. That is not his purpose: he wants to make sure that we see the questions. Some people may see that as a weakness in this book, but I do not. If he became prescriptive, then this would reduce the contents to appearing merely to back up a pet proposal, which may or may not be sound. By leaving us to work out our own answers, he forces the reader to engage with the question, and acknowledge its importance.

So far, I have probably made this sound like a book that you should read, but not necessarily one that you would WANT to read! But Sandel wears his erudition lightly. He writes clearly, raising specific examples. This is a thought-provoking read but not a difficult one.

However, the people who have most to learn from this book - this new breed of economists - are, I fear, those least likely to read it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I don't care too much for money . . ., 9 Aug 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
In the wake of recent economic collapses, Sandel has contributed a work that urges to reflect upon the prevailing wisdom of free market thinking, and its moral limitations. I'd never come across Sandel before reading this, and that's a surprise, because he comes across as a very wise, cool and authoritative voice, eschewing anti-capitalist hyperbole for a balanced presentation of facts and a pertinent examination of them.

Sandel even concedes early on that we are unlikely to reach a consensus about what money should or shouldn't be able to buy as, he argues, whatever moral framework we hold - and there are many - will determine your answer to that question. And it is an examination of these moral frameworks that the author focuses on, in a refreshingly open-minded way.

What we are given, then, are a number of scenarios - such as cases of economic incentive, the purchase of preferential treatments, corporate sponsoring of public space - and Sandel's critical inspection of the prevailing market-based thinking usually associated with them. The result is less of a dogmatic treatise urging us to reject capitalist values, rather more of a thought-provoking discussion in the spirit of Grayling or Singer.

Interestingly, Sandel steers clear of both private schooling and prostitution, two of the longest running subjects related to the morality of money. Regardless, this is an enjoyable, informative and thought-provoking book, and it's definitely made me want to read his other book, Justice.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 5 star book, 6 Aug 2012
By 
Ms. C. R. Stillman-lowe "Cathy SL" (Reading Berks) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Sandel is probably the most distinguished of the new breed of philosophers who focus on in particular contemporary ethical (and especially medical ethical concerns) instead of the traditional problems of philosophy. He was the 2009 Reith Lecturer and his recent book Justice has been widely acclaimed. He aims at clarity in a way that will attract debate with the general public.

His current book is about markets where seemingly everything is for sale and he thinks should not be. He cites a huge number of examples most of which will astonish the reader of things which can be bought and to which a price is attached. He believes that this leads to inequality because only a restricted elite can in many cases afford to pay for them and because the resulting commercialisation tends to be corrosive and prevent discussion of what should and should not be bought and sold. He feels that this can only be combated by public debate but laments the tone and level of public and political discourse. This is a book which eveyone who is concerned with the state of contemporary society. It will continually alarm an astonish you.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Monied Morality, 28 July 2012
By 
I. P. Gearing (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Can the social, should the social, be commoditised? Questions of identity, for instance, do not readily lend themselves to a market solutions. The answer to the second part is quite simple. Yes. A market is simply where interests meet and bargains are struck. Sandel questions the proposition that all human relations are market relations, but, in my opinion, I think he takes a blind alley. Although I share his assertion that there are decisions that belong in the social sphere it would be on the grounds that the sought after social improvements should not be incidental, indeed secondary, to the nature of a transaction, I think he misses the point about market design, the tailoring of incentives to desired outcomes. On the other hand some economists seem to think that it is all a question of the design of incentives. Sandel presents morality as being as much about fashion as absolutes, yet doesn't really pursue this side of the argument particularly far.

Overall this is an interesting and thought provoking book which I would recommend as a solid background reader into an area that does not necessarily receive an intelligent airing , if only it went a little further.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Only in America?, 13 Jun 2012
By 
Alun Williams "mathematician manqué" (Peterborough,England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have sometimes been puzzled by how left-leaning people are outraged when privatisation, or the introduction of a market, are proposed as reforms to how a public service is delivered. I have never really understood why somebody would care about this, so long as the job gets done better and more efficiently. This book has changed my thinking, and I think its message needs to be debated widely and publicly.
The author, Michael Sandel, is an American political philosopher, and a professor at Harvard. He wears his learning very lightly in this book, which is both short and easy to read, but nevertheless extremely thought-provoking. His central contention is that over the last thirty years the West has moved from having a market economy to being a market society, and that this has happened without any proper consideration of the consequences. Sandel argues that the introduction of a market, or other forms of commercialisation, has moral implications that need to be debated: if the debate does not take place than moral choices will in effect have been made unconsciously. Throughout the book Sandel gives a host of examples of small changes to how things are done, which cumulatively make for a world where there is far less public space, and where rich and poor, or the elite and hoi polloi, are more isolated from one another. Perhaps too many of these examples are drawn from American society for the book to be quite as relevant as it might be to the UK, (though the net is cast widely - with examples from China, Scandinavia and the UK), but at times I was chilled at the thought that some of the more recent developments in the US might soon be coming here too.
Sandel does not argue that the introduction of a market, or of financial incentives, is always wrong, just that one should not assume that there are no moral implications to doing so. In some cases the benefit of introducing a market may outweigh the costs. However, there will be few readers if any, who are not disturbed by some of the things that have been done in the name of reducing the cost of government.
Although I am being slightly generous in giving this book five stars (it is a little too American for this British reader), I think every decision maker working in the public sector and government to read this book. Whether it exposes a dangerous unconscious assumption, or helps someone to articulate their opposition to change more coherently, or to better anticipate unintended consequences of a change they are proposing, this book will usefully inform the reader's thinking.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 112 13 14 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Only search this product's reviews