(“Market Reasoning as Moral Reasoning: Why Economists Should Re-engage with Political Philosophy”)

The second required reading response is Michael Sandel’s “Market reasoning as moral reasoning: why economists should re-engage with political philosophy (Links to an external site.)”, which, like reading response 1, is from the Journal of Economic Perspectives. We heard then from two sociologists about how their approach to understanding racial discrimination was different from the “standard” economic approach; this time we’ll hear from a philosopher about how he sees economists’ approach to morality and why he advocates for a shift in perspective.
I placed this article in the topic 8 notes, since in that topic we’ll be taking some time to explicitly consider the ethics of neoclassical economics and a few simple examples of conceptions of fairness and wellbeing in a society. Of course, the issues that Sandel raises are relevant throughout economics, so the reading is not specifically related to material from any one topic in our course!
Just like last time, please write 300-500 words on your reflections on the article (I don’t mind if you go slightly over the word count if you need it to complete your thoughts). And again, please don’t just summarize the article—we’d like to get your reaction and what you took from it! You can write about whatever ideas or connections came to you on reading, but here are some suggestions for things you could consider, if you need some help to get started:
What surprised you, particularly interested you, or confused you about the reading? What examples particularly stood out to you and what do you think we as economists could learn from them? What about examples from your own experience or knowledge? How does the argument of the paper compare to the type of models you’ve studied in your economics training so far (here or in other classes)? What exactly is your take on what Sandel is advocating?

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