Institute for Social Renewal

Annual lecture 2013

Michael Sandel, 2013 Annual Lecture

In 2013, Newcastle University’s annual Lord Patten Lecture on Social Renewal was delivered by Professor Michael J Sandel, philosopher and professor at Harvard University.

Building on the success of his legendary 'Justice' course at Harvard, Michael Sandel’s influence as the world’s ‘most relevant living philosopher’ is rapidly expanding worldwide. From London to South Korea, hundreds, often thousands, flock to hear him speak and politicians are listening. In a period of rapid global cultural and economic change, now more than ever we require the highest quality of public interrogation and debate.

On stage and in writing, he deploys a unique and charismatic gift for empowering public participation in acute social and moral questions, such as: Should we financially reward children for good marks? Is it ethical to pay people to donate organs? Should a banker be paid more than a nurse? Should Universities give preference to poor applicants? What about hiring mercenaries to fight our wars, outsourcing inmates to for-profit prisons or selling citizenship?

With the publication in 2012 of What Money Can’t Buy, Sandel argued that market values have come to define our lives in ways that aren’t good for democracy or for the quality of public or private life, and are in danger of corrupting the value we place on things such as children, the environment, and citizenship.

Professor Sandel presented ‘What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets’ to an audience of almost 700 people at Newcastle University. The lecture is introduced by Professor Mark Shucksmith, Director of NISR, and chaired by Lord Patten.