Did you know that the free market sometimes producing stomach churning results? Did you know that obeying the free market doesn’t always end with what most people would consider a morally uplifting outcome?
Because I did, even before I read two hundred pages of things illuminating things I already know, without ever providing any sort of prescription for change.
I mean, a lot of things suck. Sport franchises are often run by money grubbing jerks. Wal-Mart buying life insurance on a man in late middle age and then working him to death makes people who aren’t sociopaths feel queasy.
But what’s the answer?
The closest this book comes to an answer is by mentioning mid-century economist who saw economics as creating a situation where markets would produce the right outcomes so that the national supply of Love wouldn’t be wasted on them. Sandel correctly points out that this represents a probable misunderstanding of how love works (Thomas Merton once wrote that love is increased by being given away) and muses how the world might have been different if that economist hadn’t died two years after writing his market/love and said, whoops, I was all wrong, let’s just be nice to each other; which, while it might have been nice, I think puts too much on the shoulders of one dead economist whose name I can’t even remember.