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"What Isn't For Sale?"

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posted on Mar, 15 2012 @ 11:14 AM

Consider, for example, the proliferation of for-profit schools, hospitals, and prisons, and the outsourcing of war to private military contractors. (In Iraq and Afghanistan, private contractors have actually outnumbered U.S. military troops.) Consider the eclipse of public police forces by private security firms—especially in the U.S. and the U.K., where the number of private guards is almost twice the number of public police officers.

Or consider the pharmaceutical companies’ aggressive marketing of prescription drugs directly to consumers, a practice now prevalent in the U.S. but prohibited in most other countries. (If you’ve ever seen the television commercials on the evening news, you could be forgiven for thinking that the greatest health crisis in the world is not malaria or river blindness or sleeping sickness but an epidemic of erectile dysfunction.)

Consider too the reach of commercial advertising into public schools, from buses to corridors to cafeterias; the sale of “naming rights” to parks and civic spaces; the blurred boundaries, within journalism, between news and advertising, likely to blur further as newspapers and magazines struggle to survive; the marketing of “designer” eggs and sperm for assisted reproduction; the buying and selling, by companies and countries, of the right to pollute; a system of campaign finance in the U.S. that comes close to permitting the buying and selling of elections.

These uses of markets to allocate health, education, public safety, national security, criminal justice, environmental protection, recreation, procreation, and other social goods were for the most part unheard-of 30 years ago. Today, we take them largely for granted.

It's pretty astounding when you see it all written out like that. Virtually everything is for sale. Modern life has been commodified.

The article goes on to say that this pervasive market culture is unfair to those with less money - a fact the Occupy movement has been highlighting - because it makes even basic goods and services more difficult to attain. The article also states that a market culture is more susceptible to corruption. Not just corruption in the traditional sense, which is also a concern, but also in the motivation for doing or achieving something. If anything can be bought, it places money above ideals.

A great example of how market mentality totally undermines the founding principles, or ideals, of our country is the Justice system. There is no doubt that it has been commodified. If you have money, you are less likely to be charged or convicted and, if convicted, you will likely serve less time.

The article goes on to pose the question - Do we want to have a market economy or a market society?

Where do we draw the line between what is for sale and what is not? As a society, we can't sell sex but you can buy an egg or sperm. You can't sell or use drugs but you can get paid to volunteer for pharmaceutical drug trials or scientific experiments. Slavery and human trafficking is illegal but you can pay a person to do just about any job you need, no matter how immoral or demeaning.

Can we just decide that there are some things that money can't or shouldn't buy? That we have a common interest and a civic duty in making those things free of the influence of money? Like elections or a basic eduction.

Of course there will invariably be those who unfailingly support free market ideals and suggest that even questioning these concerns is an affront to Capitalism. I think not. I think it is an affront to humanity to allow marketing and markets to dictate the quality of our lives.

There are some things money can’t buy—but these days, not many. Almost everything is up for sale. For example:

• A prison-cell upgrade: $90 a night. In Santa Ana, California, and some other cities, nonviolent offenders can pay for a clean, quiet jail cell, without any non-paying prisoners to disturb them.

• Access to the carpool lane while driving solo: $8. Minneapolis, San Diego, Houston, Seattle, and other cities have sought to ease traffic congestion by letting solo drivers pay to drive in carpool lanes, at rates that vary according to traffic.

• The services of an Indian surrogate mother: $8,000. Western couples seeking surrogates increasingly outsource the job to India, and the price is less than one-third the going rate in the United States.

• The right to shoot an endangered black rhino: $250,000. South Africa has begun letting some ranchers sell hunters the right to kill a limited number of rhinos, to give the ranchers an incentive to raise and protect the endangered species.

• Your doctor’s cellphone number: $1,500 and up per year. A growing number of “concierge” doctors offer cellphone access and same-day appointments for patients willing to pay annual fees ranging from $1,500 to $25,000.

• The right to emit a metric ton of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere: $10.50. The European Union runs a carbon-dioxide-emissions market that enables companies to buy and sell the right to pollute.

• The right to immigrate to the United States: $500,000. Foreigners who invest $500,000 and create at least 10 full-time jobs in an area of high unemployment are eligible for a green card that entitles them to permanent residency.

edit on 15-3-2012 by KillerQueen because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 15 2012 @ 11:44 AM
You my friend have earned my very first flag!

Wear it with pride
. It is both amazing and appaling how immoral America has become. You can literally buy your way out of anything and a perfect example of that is the absence of any arrests after the market crash and the housing bubble. This is an area that I think is the root of many of the problems we face as a society and the older I get I see why they call a political affiliation a "party". Because it really has become a frat/sorority that the citizens are not a part of. Instead we are it's initiates. Degrading ourselves and paying our dues to a club in which we will never truly belong. We are no longer a morality based nation, we are a coprorate based nation with no business ethics. The scariest part of the whole deal is that we are pushing this immoral way of life onto the rest of the world. But everytime I see someone highlight how America will sell anything for the right price, I feel like I see a ray of light. That there are people whose principles are not for sale, there are still people with integrity, and people who have not been corrupted by this dog eat dog insidious way of life. RON PAUL 2012!!!!!

posted on May, 14 2012 @ 07:11 AM
I'm glad more people are noticing the danger of this trend, especially someone as influential to our public discourse as Thomas Friedman:

Seen in isolation, these commercial encroachments seem innocuous enough. But Sandel sees them as signs of a bad trend: “Over the last three decades,” he states, “we have drifted from having a market economy to becoming a market society. A market economy is a tool — a valuable and effective tool — for organizing productive activity. But a ‘market society’ is a place where everything is up for sale. It is a way of life where market values govern every sphere of life.”

Why worry about this trend? Because, Sandel argues, market values are crowding out civic practices. When public schools are plastered with commercial advertising, they teach students to be consumers rather than citizens. When we outsource war to private military contractors, and when we have separate, shorter lines for airport security for those who can afford them, the result is that the affluent and those of modest means live increasingly separate lives, and the class-mixing institutions and public spaces that forge a sense of common experience and shared citizenship get eroded.

posted on May, 17 2012 @ 08:58 PM
The Outsourced Life

...The very ease with which we reach for market services may help prevent us from noticing the remarkable degree to which the market has come to dominate our very ideas about what can or should be for sale or rent, and who should be included in the dramatic cast — buyers, branders, sellers — that we imagine as part of our personal life. It may even prevent us from noticing how we devalue what we don’t or can’t buy...

...There is much public conversation about the balance of power between the branches of government, but we badly need to confront the larger and looming imbalance between the market and everything else....

posted on May, 17 2012 @ 09:06 PM
Even "god" is for sale... least according to the religious "authorities" of the world who just cannot EVER get enough money "for god"...

edit on 17-5-2012 by HangTheTraitors because: (no reason given)


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