This book was a gift from a friend who seems to have a knack for guessing what I would like and find interesting.
Suppose you adopted a baby who was born a drug addict because the mother was a junkie. You watched the baby suffered because of the addiction, and hoped and prayed as the baby struggled to recover and heal. It would probably make you want to stop any more babies from suffering the same fate. But how?
Barbara Harris founded a charity that offers drug addict women $300 cash to undergo sterilization or long-term birth control, which caused quite a stir. Critics feel that it is morally reprehensible. Because the program targets vulnerable women in poor neghbourhoods, they feel that the program amounts to coercion. Why not use the money to help the women to go to rehab and overcome their addiction?
Harris’s argument is that some of the women who accept the cash for sterilization have been pregnant several times before and many have children in foster care because their addiction prevents them from caring for their children. After adopting four children born of addicted mothers, Harris swears she would do anything to prevent more babies from suffering.
Honestly, I’m torn. Cash for sterilization just feels wrong, but at the same time, what is so right and responsible about having a baby who you can’t love and care for because your own life is a mess, because you’re an addict?
This is just one of many issues that Sandel explores in “What Money Can’t Buy“. He raises interesting questions about the ethical and moral limits of what money should and should not buy. The author does not offer any answers or solutions, most probably because there is no easy or straight forward answers. I guarantee this book will leave you pondering on the questions of morals, ethics and money.