Harvard professor on American society: Everything is up for sale

Harvard University professor Michael Sandel on Monday lamented that almost every aspect of life in the United States was being “sold off to the highest bidder.”

“A market economy is a tool, a valuable and effective tool, for organizing productive activity,” he said on PBS Newshour. “But a market society is a place where almost everything is up for sale. It’s a way of life where market values seep into almost every sphere of life, and sometimes crowd out or corrode important values, non-market values.”

In particular, Sandel condemned D.C.’s line-standing companies. The companies allow lobbyists and others to obtain seats at congressional hearings without having to wait in long lines. The hearings are supposed to be open to the public, but the line-standing companies make it harder for less privileged citizens to gain access to government.

“In a democratic society, everyone should have equal access to representative government, to congressional hearings, to Supreme Court arguments,” Sandel said. “The other reason it’s wrong is that it demeans representative government. It’s demeaning to the whole idea of government in the name of the public good to have ticket scalpers hawking seats in the Appropriations Committee.”

Watch video, courtesy of PBS, below:

[Ed. note: Updated for clarity.]

About the Author
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.