What Money Can't Buy

Text #1: Sandel addresses the meaning of apology. There is a company in China that offers the service of apologizing. This company's slogan is "We say sorry for you." Sandel explores whether or not an apology like this is effective.

Response #1: Sandel questions the effectiveness of an apology that does not come from the wrong doer. I do not believe such an apology could be effective. The emotional response tied to an apology make the words come to life. Without the presence of the party actually involved, no emotions could possibly be conveyed. Sandel says that the apologizers that work for the company wear professional clothing and often have college degrees. This seems to distance the actual apology even further from any emotional meaning. In fact, it seems to me that the apologizer is not strong enough to face that he or she was wrong. Paying for an apology is nothing more than an easy way out of a bad situation; a lazy man's solution.

Text #2: Sandler touches on the meaning of honorific goods. He admits that a Nobel prize cannot be bought, nor can a college degree. The physical medal or piece of paper cannot be bought, but Sandel asks how does one obtain the knowledge to reach such honors. The answer is most likely education. If education is paid for, to some degree, achievements earned are also paid for.

Response #2: This section of the reading really made me think. Sandel's argument does seem very logical. At the end of a college career, the goal is to obtain a degree. Is this merely a piece of paper reflecting four years paid for in full? Or does this degree represent four years of hard work, studying, midterms and finals? When I was reading this excerpt, I found myself jumping between these two questions. I would like to think my degree is worth more than my tuition bill, but my cynical side reminds me that if my check doesn't arrive, I will not receive a degree of any sort. Possibly, I would not be as cynical if there were more transparency as to where the money goes.

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