SOLD OUT - Markets & Morals: What Money Can't Buy


Join us for a discussion with Michael Sandel — whose course on Justice at Harvard University is one of the most highly attended in the institution’s history — to consider the role of morals in the marketplace. The discussion, led by James Crabtree of the Financial Times, will also engage industry leader Jerry Rao, a pioneer in providing affordable housing in India as a profitable enterprise. An opening introduction will be made by Padma Bhushan Homi Bhabha.

Even as the topic is hotly debated against the backdrop of a world recovering from a financial crisis, the strength and limits of markets define the way our societies function and economies develop. Where do markets work best, where do they fail, and what risks can emerge in societies where virtually everything is for sale? Who should decide market interventions, and how might the government, corporate sector and civil society think about their role in maintaining the right balance? Should the role of markets be considered differently in developing countries as compared to developed economies?

Michael Sandel teaches political philosophy at Harvard University. He has been described as “an academic superstar,” (New York Times), “the most relevant living philosopher,” a “rock-star moralist,” (Newsweek) and “the most famous teacher of philosophy in the world” (New Republic). His course “Justice” is the first Harvard course to be made freely available online and on television and has been viewed by tens of millions of people worldwide. Sandel is also the author of Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?, which relates the big questions of political philosophy to the most vexing issues of our day.

Jerry Rao is currently Chairman of Value and Budget Housing Corporation and is also the Founder of MphasiS Corporation, a software company based in California. He has previously held several positions in Citibank in Asia, Europe, South America and North America. He has been chairman of NASSCOM and is currently Chairman of NASSCOM Foundation. He is a Trustee of Sujaya Foundation and Chairman of the India Foundation for the Arts. Rao is also a columnist for the Indian Express.

James Crabtree is the Mumbai Bureau Head for the Financial Times. He previously worked as policy advisor in the UK Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit, and is a trustee of the charity, one of the UK’s most innovative technology organisations.

Homi Bhabha is the Anne F. Rothenberg Professor of the Humanities in the Department of English, the Director of the Mahindra Humanities Center and the Senior Advisor on the Humanities to the President and Provost at Harvard University. Bhabha is the author of numerous works exploring postcolonial theory, cultural change and power, and cosmopolitanism, among other themes. Some of his works include Nation and Narration and The Location of Culture.

What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets

In What Money Can’t Buy, Michael J. Sandel takes on one of the biggest ethical questions of our time: Is there something wrong with a world in which everything is for sale? If so, how can we prevent market values from reaching into spheres of life where they don’t belong? What are the moral limits of markets?

In recent decades, market values have crowded out nonmarket norms in almost every aspect of life — medicine, education, government, law, art, sports, even family life and personal relations. Without quite realising it, Sandel argues, we have drifted from having a market economy to being a market society. Is this where we want to be? Sandel provokes an essential discussion that we, in our market-driven age, need to have: What is the proper role of markets in a democratic society — and how can we protect the moral and civic goods that markets don’t honour and that money can’t buy?

The Business of Asia series highlights new developments and best practices in the corporate and economic world that bolster notions of corporate citizenship, including engaged leadership, innovation, and corporate social responsibility. Recent programmes under this series include a discussion on how India can evolve a vision for its future growth with Mukesh Ambani, Anand Mahindra, Adil Zainubhai, Vishakha Desai and Suhel Seth, a discussion on currency devaluation as an economic strategy, and a conversation on how to better understand the potential unleashed by growing consumer markets in India and China.

Event Details

Thu 23 Jan 2014
6:30 PM - 8:15 PM
Coomaraswamy Hall, CSMVS Museum, 159-161, M.G Road, Fort, Mumbai
Registration: Rs. 500. Free for Asia Society Members. RSVP required to:
Add to Calendar 20140123T130000 20140123T144500 UTC Asia Society: SOLD OUT - Markets & Morals: What Money Can't Buy Coomaraswamy Hall, CSMVS Museum, 159-161, M.G Road, Fort, Mumbai