Friday, September 12, 2014

What Money Can't Buy- a book report

The Moral Limits of markets By; Michael J. Sandel This was recommended to me by a friend. When he mentioned the title to me I asked why he thought I should read it, thinking he was stating that I am extravagant in my spending habits. Nothing could be further from the truth. He assured me that was not why he felt it was important. I finished it this morning and while still fresh I will try to explain the contents. It was demoralizing for me to realize how far down the path of commercializing everything has gone. It is not that I don’t already know or for that matter you as well. We see it all around. In movie theatres we see endless commercials as we wait for the movie to start and at the designated time we must first watch 15 minutes of coming attractions. We try to arrive just before the movie but that is hard to do. Watching programs on television includes endless breaks of five minutes or more which ruins the story flow. The same is true for sporting events. The flow of the game is stopped periodically to accommodate commercials. The sweaty players are left to wait and the fans forced to sit and wait just when an action might have happened. It is to the point where I am close to dropping all interest in sports. I can tell you this, when college players are paid salaries there will be no more tickets purchased by me. City buses are painted completely with advertisements. Waiting areas are covered also; our children are forced to see ads prominently placed throughout schools. Our sports arenas are renamed from tradition to corporate. Sometimes schools named for Presidents or Governors are renamed. Once ball players were happy to sign autographs, now they charge exorbitant prices. Who can blame them when professionals are determined to profit at their expense? People place advertisements on their foreheads or other places. These people are usually those who are in dire financial straits. They also are willing to sell body parts i.e. kidneys, blood, etc. There is a multi-billion dollar industry in America betting on the death of celebrities, politicians, and other famous people. They will pay a sick person half the value of their insurance policy by being named the beneficiary. This has progressed to healthy people. The original purpose of life insurance was to protect your family should the bread earner die. 40% of these policies are abandoned when no longer necessary. Now these are being purchased by Corporations who will then keep paying the premiums until eventually you die. The increased cost to insurance companies is forcing them to increase payments. The worst in my opinion are companies like Wal-Mart who will take out a $300,000 policy on the life of all of their employees, without the permission or knowledge of those persons. Then at death the company not the family cashes in. One example was a store clerk murdered in a robbery. The family received nothing. Why our Federal and State governments allow this to occur is beyond my comprehension. To me it is evil. I have always referred to Wal-Mart as an evil company. This is another reason to support my position. They should sell goods not profit from the death of an employee. Nothing is sacred. Doesn’t it diminish the experience for you when the announcers of a sporting event keep referring to the Corporation during their spiel of the game? It does me. We WWII types still alive keep remembering the simple days and hate what has become the new norm. Laugh if you will and point out the good things, but this book shows how we have lost the basic goodness of almost everything by putting a price on it. Read the book, if you have the stomach for it. Jack B. Walters September 12, 2014

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