Political philosopher Professor Michael Sandel delivered the first of the BBC's 2009 Reith Lectures.
A New Citizenship builds on a lifetime’s work exploring issues around democracy, ethics and ‘politics of the common good’. Many of the themes we are developing within Critical Practice, especially for publicness
The first lecture called for a new politics of the common good.
I wrote into the lecture as I listened, and then ammended those notes
First Sandel suggested we have to recognise the limits, the moral limits of the idea of a competitive market. Clearly, markets are not the best technology for achieving a public good. So, to enable markets to contribute - to a public good, we need to reconnect them to different structures of evaluation; moral, ethical, environmental, etc. And to drives for social justice. Collective integrity and shared values have to triumph over individual greed. But how?
For Sandel, self interest is a personal need; like self respect, self-worth, and self love. And like greed or profit, these drives animate markets. Markets are connected to welbeing, therefore we need markets. They are also very good at distributing resources, but we have to recognise thay are a limited technology. There are some things that money, at work in markets cannot buy - like friendship, and some things money should not buy - like a child.