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 11 2013: Sandel makes a strong case for WHY all government aid should be eliminated. I point to his example of paying students to attend class or self educate. It's the working population that is paying for this generosity with the same being true for the multitude of helpful programs channeling the working mans dollar into cultures removed from western civilization.. Sandel has a gentle tone which misleads the listener that because he supposes his thought and tacks a WHY to his question we need to agree. Market societies are bad because ..... and you can put any number of job creating entrepreneurs and researchers with big ideas who have a niche service into that category. Would Sandel have a problem if the Federal government created a market for distributive power?. Put the private sector in charge of a massive solar rollout by offering for auction the right to instal and maintain the country's power supply for a hundred year period. As we would all benefit from the auction only a few companies with the resources and expertise would qualify for this enormous opportunity. Sandel's views are a glass ceiling to everyone's economic future. He resides in a gentile society and is removed from the power that pushes industry and industry leaders to seek out new opportunities.

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