12-15-2017  9:31 pm      •     
MLK Breakfast
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

NEWS BRIEFS

Exhibit Explores the Legacy of Portland Bird Watchers

Dedicated bird watchers catapult a conservationist movement ...

Special Call for Stories about the Spanish Flu

Genealogical Forum of Oregon seeks stories from the public about one of history's most lethal outbreaks ...

Joint Office of Homeless Services Announces Severe Weather Strategy

Those seeking shelter should call 211 or visit 211.org. Neighbors needed to volunteer, donate cold-weather apparel ...

Q&A with Facebook's Global Director of Diversity Maxine Williams

A conversation on diversity and the tech industry ...

City Announces Laura John as Tribal Liason

Laura John brings an extensive background in tribal advocacy and community engagement to the city of Portland ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

Don’t Delay, Sign-up for Affordable Healthcare Today

The deadline to enroll or modify healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act is December 15. ...

The Skanner Editorial: Alabama Voters Must Reject Moore

Allegations of predatory behavior are troubling – and so is his resume ...

Payday Lenders Continue Attack on Consumer Protections

Charlene Crowell of the Center for Responsible Lending writes that two bills that favor predatory lenders has received bipartisan...

Hundreds Rallied for Meek Mill, but What About the Rest?

Lynette Monroe, a guest columnist for the NNPA Newswire, talks about Meek Mill, the shady judge that locked him up and mass...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

Kam Williams Special to The Skanner News

"We live at a time when almost everything can be bought and sold... Over the past three decades, markets—and market values—have come to govern our lives as never before… As the Cold War ended, markets and market thinking enjoyed unrivaled prestige.

And yet, even as growing numbers of countries around the world embraced market mechanisms in the operation of their economies, something else was happening. Market values were coming to play a greater and greater role in social life…

Today, the logic of buying and selling no longer applies to material goods alone but increasingly governs the whole of life. It is time to ask whether we want to live this way." 

-- Excerpted from the Introduction (pages 5-6)

Economists have been referred to by cynics as emotional cripples who know the price of everything but appreciate the value of nothing. Increasingly, the same might be said of people in general as we've come to embrace the commodification of virtually every aspect of human existence.

For example, nowadays, you can pay an East Indian woman to serve as a surrogate mom for $6,250. Or you can shoot a rhinoceros on the endangered species list for $150,000; or rent out the space on your forehead as corporate ad space for $777.

In Europe, the cost to pollute is $18 per metric ton. In California, you can upgrade your prison cell for $82 a night. And a mercenary soldier of fortune collects $1,000 a day to fight in Afghanistan.  

Do you find this state of affairs unsettling, or are you so jaded that you accept the notion that everything has a price? If that is the case, where does it end? Will we soon not only be hiring strangers as friends and lovers, but even to be our spouses?

This is the dire dystopia contemplated by Michael J. Sandel in "What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets," a thoughtful opus examining a cornucopia of ethical questions touching areas ranging from medicine to law education to personal relations. Should society intervene and, for instance, prevent a fertile female from renting out her womb to another who is barren? Or does everything have its price as suggested by Red Foxx ages ago in an off-color skit on a Laff Record lp?

How we answer that question collectively will determine whether there's any hope of reversing capitalism's runaway exploitation of the human condition.   

 

Oregon Lottery
Health Effects of Smoking
Calendar

MLK breakfast 2018 300x100

Photo Gallery

Photos and slide shows of local events

Family Care Health