Sandel on Morality and queues

2 Feb



Michael Sandel in The Moral Limits of Markets argues against those that queue jump. Not for the irritation or annoyance but more for the fact that those that queue jump aren’t playing the egalitarian game. Instead they use the advantage they have in disposable income to hold a place above random or time selection. Economists , Sandel argues , would justify this as a market transaction and therefore OK.

He uses multiple arguments around free concerts, senate hearings. Queue jumping is anti-egalitarian. He may have a point. His bigger point throughout the book is that giving moral status to transactions that are merely manifestations of an auction for those with the most to dispose of is wrong. (or simply market forces shouldn’t justify a market society).

Im not sure I am as exercised by his queue jumping for the same reasons. My moral argument against queue jumping is this

1.Its a manifestation of inequality, queue jumping is how the inequality is disposed…but suppose we ban it..the inequality still exists.

2. The disadvantaged ( financially) have to go through queues in supermarkets that are laden with weak purchases ( chocolate and magazines ) which by purchasing just increases the inequality. The purchase happens because they are stuck in the queue.

My own method for dealing with egalitarianism in supermarkets ( if not queues ) can be seen above.



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