“We’ve witnessed a quiet revolution, where we’ve drifted from having a market economy to becoming a market society… So the question becomes: ‘should we worry about becoming a market society?’”
That’s the question posed to first-year GW School of Business students and members of the GW community by bestselling author Michael Sandel, the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government at Harvard University, at the second annual Richard W. Blackburn Endowed Lecture on Civility and Integrity on January 22.
Endowed in 2013 by GW Trustee Richard W. Blackburn, JD ’67, the lecture serves as the signature capstone for the School of Business First Year Development Program, a curriculum developed for first-year GWSB undergraduate students that focuses on academic integrity, ethics, communication, self-reflection, leadership, and career development.
“If we use civility as a building block of trust, we can build a community that is going to be able to do a lot more than we can do as individuals,” Mr. Blackburn said.
During the evening, Dr. Sandel engaged students in a lively debate on the issues that arise when market values are applied to all aspects of life, posing questions to the audience and asking them to debate whether it was ethical to apply market values to certain nonmarket situations.
“Sometimes market values have a crowding out effect and what they crowd out are moral or civic values that matter,” Dr. Sandel said. “I think one of the reasons citizens are so frustrated with public discourse is that it’s empty of ethical, moral and spiritual questions.”