TED Conversations

Morton Bast

editorial coordinator, TED


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Are markets equipped to solve our social problems?

At TEDGlobal 2013, Harvard professors Michael Sandel and Michael Porter faced off on a very big question: Should the fate of our social values -- healthcare, family, education and the like -- be left to the power of markets? Is business' potential for success and scalability the answer to a set of big problems that sometimes seem to be getting nowhere, year after year?

Porter believes that, in the long run, social good is the ultimate business interest. Sandel sees the care of our society as too important to be driven by an amoral system. What do you think?

Watch Sandel's and Porter's TED Talks, and then see the debate, hosted by Chris Anderson on the TEDGlobal stage (http://wp.me/p10512-lty).


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    Oct 10 2013: Markets are shaped by a society's needs. In some cases by what the culture tells a society it needs. Markets are equipped to solve social problems. The real issue is getting our markets to provide the right products.

    Markets are just a tool. You don't blame the hammer when the nail goes in sideways. Markets would be much more effective if education was a priority. Brand envy is crippling our ability to analyze a product's real value.

    Unfortunately, profit margins are more important than social good for many organizations. If we can shift to a focus on social progress we may see more effective markets. There simply aren't enough rewards for doing the right thing in business these days.

    Doing the right thing needs to become more than a marketing strategy.

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