Tuesday, 7 February 2012
Objective Proficiency p 130. Fair Pay. Extra Listening
Should celebrities and sports stars be paid more than service workers? Is fair pay determined by supply and demand? In this excerpt from the BBC program "Fairness and the Big Society," the eminent Harvard political philosopher Michael Sandel uses the pay of a famous soccer star to explore the meaning of fairness with a London studio audience.
You can also listen to a programme on BBC Radio 4 called The Public Philosopher: Should a Banker Be Paid More Than a Nurse? in which Michael Sandel brings his trademark style to a discussion on a topical issue, questioning the thinking underlying the current controversy. He digs deep into the morality of high pay and bankers' bonuses.
"My image of a banker is an overweight man behind a desk" says Alice. The audience bursts into laughter. "My image of a nurse," she goes on, "is an overworked woman who works night shifts and is constantly on her feet".
Michael Sandel asks "So by that logic, Alice, maybe there's a case for paying nurses more than bankers. Am I right?"
Alice agrees and so begins Michael Sandel's journey through the morality of fair pay.
He explores whether fair pay is a question of the importance of the contribution one makes, whether it is a reward for effort ...and whether it's the market that should define how much people should get paid.
He questions whether Wayne Rooney gets the pay he deserves for "kicking a pigskin around a field for a certain period of time".
In this series of public events, recorded at the London School of Economics, he challenges his audience to apply critical thinking and philosophical reasoning to a host of ethical dilemmas most people rely on gut instinct to resolve.