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What Money Can't Buy - the moral limit of markets

St Paul's Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science and JustShare public debate

Date: Wednesday 23 May 2012 
Time: 6.30-8pm 
Venue: St Paul's Cathedral, EC4M 8AD
Speaker: Professor Michael Sandel
Discussants: Stephanie Flanders, Professor Julian Le Grand, Rt Revd Peter Selby
Chair: Ann Pettifor

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?

Noted public philosopher and Harvard professor Michael J. Sandel will explore some of these pressing questions with responses from Stephanie Flanders, Professor Julian Le Grand and Bishop Peter Selby. St Paul's Cathedral is delighted to host a discussion on this vital topic within a sacred space in order to explore the intersection between faith, morality and markets and the power that money has in our lives. Questions and comments from the audience will be taken.

Michael J. Sandel is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government at Harvard University, where he has taught political philosophy since 1980. His recent book, Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do? relates the big questions of political philosophy to the most vexing issues of our time. His new book, What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets, has just been published. At Harvard, Sandel's courses include Ethics, Biotechnology, and the Future of Human Nature, Ethics, Economics, and Law, and Globalization and Its Critics. His undergraduate course, Justice, has enrolled over 15,000 students, and is the first Harvard course to be made freely available online and on public television. A recipient of the Harvard-Radcliffe Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prize, Sandel was recognised by the American Political Science Association in 2008 for a career of excellence in teaching.  He has been a visiting professor at the Sorbonne (Paris), delivered the Tanner Lectures on Human Values at Oxford University, and in 2009 delivered the BBC Reith Lectures. In 2010, China Newsweek named him the "most influential foreign figure of the year" in China.

Stephanie Flanders has been a reporter at the New York Times (2001); a speech writer and senior advisor to the US Treasury Secretary (1997-2001); a Financial Times leader-writer and columnist (1993-7); and an economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies and London Business School. She became BBC economics editor in April 2008. She has won numerous awards, including the 2010 Harold Wincott Award for online journalism. She blogs at Stephanomics.

Julian Le Grand is the Richard Titmuss Professor of Social Policy at the London School of Economics. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine, a Trustee of the Kings Fund, and a Founding Academician of the Academy of Learned Societies for the Social Sciences. He has an honorary doctorate from the University of Sussex. In 2003-5 he was seconded to No 10 Downing St as a senior policy adviser to the Prime Minister. As well as his position at No 10, he has acted as an adviser to the President of the European Commission, the World Bank, the World Health Organisation, the OECD, Her Majesty's Treasury and the UK Departments of Health and Work and Pensions. In 2007 he chaired the Working Group on Social Work Practices for the Department for Education and Science and from 2007 to 2009 he was the Chair of Health England: the national reference group on health and well-being. He has also been vice-chairman of a major teaching hospital, a commissioner on the Commission for Health Improvement, and a non-executive on several health authorities. He has served on many NHS working parties, on several think-tank commissions and on two grants boards of the Economic and Social Research Council. Julian Le Grand is an economist by training with a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr Peter Selby was Bishop of Worcester from 1997 until 2007 and in 2001 was also appointed to Bishop of Prisons, a post from which he also retired in September 2007.  Dr Selby's interest in prisons is long-standing, and he is himself the son of refugees, and served for a time as the Chair of the Asylum Committee of the Refugee Council. His concern for prisons and the criminal justice system extends back to 1965 when he served as an interim chaplain at San Quentin, California, as part of his ministerial training. Since then, criminal justice and refugee issues have been consistent features of his work in the Church of England. He has served in posts involving adult education and policy development, as well as in pastoral and consultancy work, in South London and in the North-East. He became a bishop in 1984 in South-West London, and undertook research into international and personal debt as the William Leech Professorial Fellow in Durham from 1992 to 1997. He began his current role as President of the National Council for Independent Monitoring Boards on 1 January 2008.

Ann Pettifor is director of Policy Research in Macro-Economics (PriME), and a senior fellow of the New Economics Foundation. She is the author of The Coming First World Debt Crisis which was published in 2006

St Paul's Institute seeks to foster an informed Christian response to the most urgent ethical and spiritual issues of our times: financial integrity, economic justice, and the meaning of the common good.

JustShare is a coalition of churches and charities committed to global development and social justice.

To view a continuation of the debate and find out what people were saying on Twitter, visit the St Paul's Institute website.

Suggested hashtag for this event for Twitter users: #moralmarkets

For any queries email events@lse.ac.uk

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