We live in a day and age where almost anything can be bought and sold for cold, hard cash. You can sell your forehead for advertising for $10,000 if you opt for a permanent tattoo. Got arrested? Upgrade your stay to a clean, quiet prison for only $90 a night.
In this article in The Atlantic, Michael J. Sandel thinks that we should be worried:
When we decide that certain goods may be bought and sold, we decide, at least implicitly, that it is appropriate to treat them as commodities, as instruments of profit and use. But not all goods are properly valued in this way. The most obvious example is human beings. Slavery was appalling because it treated human beings as a commodity, to be bought and sold at auction. Such treatment fails to value human beings as persons, worthy of dignity and respect; it sees them as instruments of gain and objects of use.
Something similar can be said of other cherished goods and practices. We don't allow children to be bought and sold, no matter how difficult the process of adoption can be or how willing impatient prospective parents might be. Even if the prospective buyers would treat the child responsibly, we worry that a market in children would express and promote the wrong way of valuing them. Children are properly regarded not as consumer goods but as beings worthy of love and care. Or consider the rights and obligations of citizenship. If you are called to jury duty, you can't hire a substitute to take your place. Nor do we allow citizens to sell their votes, even though others might be eager to buy them. Why not? Because we believe that civic duties are not private property but public responsibilities. To outsource them is to demean them, to value them in the wrong way.
|WikiLeaks: Big Banks Are Up Next|
|The 12 Biggest Ripoffs in America You're Well Acquainted With|
|The Great Bank Heist of 2010: Wall Street Wins, Main Street Pays -- Again|
|Marvel Lawyers Argue that Mutants Aren't Human|
|Silicon Valley Tries to Stop Tax Loopholes From Being Closed|
|"Free apps make money by selling your personal data."|
|CaptchaTweet: Write Tweets in Captcha Form|
|“We’ve received requests to add some artificial noise to the buses so that people can hear them.”|
|“A novel experiment by a government to work with journalists and educators to combat the spread of online misinformation.”|
|How to Avoid Jury Duty|
|The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit|
|The Festive Funk Machine: Click to Make Your Own Festive Music|
|“Initial riders may be more comfortable getting into a car with a human in the driver seat.”|
|“Make it so. Make it so. Make it so.”|
|“Both spacecraft are still operational when they reached interstellar space.”|
|Fake Name Generator|