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Harvard University

Justice Today: Money, Markets, and Morals

Harvard University via edX

Overview

Should you be able to buy a vote, citizenship, or college admission? Would you bet on someone else’s life—or, more accurately their death date? What about paying to see the exploitation of a person?

Competition, status, and greed often cause one’s moral compass to move in the wrong direction, but if there is a market to support these macabre sales, then the question to consider is this: Are there certain moral and civic goods, that markets do not honor, and money cannot buy?

Deciding case-by-case the ethical considerations to determine when and if people’s rights are violated, you will immerse yourself in videos from the Institute for New Economic Thinking, learning alongside a global cohort of peers—engaging in discussion and debating the moral dividing line.

Led by award-winning Harvard Professor Michael J. Sandel, professor of the popular HarvardX course Justice, you will explore topics that might sound familiar, like price gouging and human organ sales—but have you thought of linestanding, refugee quotas, or lookism? This course will take a deep dive into various “needs” and whether they abuse market mechanisms.

Should everything be for sale without limits?

Syllabus

1 - The Ethics of Supply and Demand: Linestanding

2 - The Ethics of Supply and Demand: Price Gouging

3 - Environmental Protection: The Walrus Quota

4 - Consenting Adults: Organ Sales, Hard Jobs

5 - Betting on Life and Death: Life Insurance

6 - Betting on Life and Death: Death Pools

7 - Betting on the Housing Market

8 - Markets in Politics: Voting

9 - Markets in Politics: Refugee Quotas and Immigration

10 - Employment Discrimination: Lookism

11 - Employment Discrimination: Racial Discrimination and Base Desires

12 - Market, Incentives, and Norms

Taught by

Michael J. Sandel

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