iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for Should a banker be paid more than a nurse?

Listen now 44 mins

Listen in pop-out player

Should a banker be paid more than a nurse?

Duration:
44 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 10 April 2012

The eminent Harvard political philosopher Michael Sandel brings his trademark style to a discussion on a topical issue, questioning the thinking underlying a current controversy. This week, he digs deep into the morality of high pay and bankers' bonuses.

"My image of a banker is an overweight man behind a desk" says Alice. The audience bursts into laughter. "My image of a nurse," she goes on, "is an overworked woman who works night shifts and is constantly on her feet".

Michael Sandel asks "So by that logic, Alice, maybe there's a case for paying nurses more than bankers. Am I right?"

Alice agrees and so begins Michael Sandel's journey through the morality of fair pay.

He explores whether fair pay is a question of the importance of the contribution one makes, whether it is a reward for effort ...and whether it's the market that should define how much people should get paid.

He questions whether Wayne Rooney gets the pay he deserves for "kicking a pigskin around a field for a certain period of time".

In this series of public events, recorded at the London School of Economics, he challenges his audience to apply critical thinking and philosophical reasoning to a host of ethical dilemmas most people rely on gut instinct to resolve.

Producer: Adele Armstrong.

Broadcasts

Free download

  1. Image for Michael Sandel: The Public Philosopher

    Michael Sandel: The Public Philosopher

    Political philosopher Professor Michael Sandel challenges an audience to apply some critical…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.