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SAMSTAG, 30.09. 2023 / 19h30,


The rise of populism has acted as a wake-up call: Western societies need a serious fix. Betrayed promises of equality and justice have unlocked resentment and anger that have started to tear our communities apart. “Rock star philosopher” MICHAEL SANDEL examines whether a fairer society is still within our grasp today. He asks if such a thing as the common good still exists, as well as whether and how we should value and reward citizens’ contributions to the economy. His reflections take us to the very heart of what human dignity means.


In his award-winning, bestselling book, The Tyranny of Merit: What's Become of the Common Good?, Michael Sandel, whose advice is sought by institutions and governments across the world, has provided us with arguably the most elaborate critique of the values and reward systems that underpin contemporary Western societies. But the merit-based system is not making us any happier. Where does the path to more just societies lie?


Sandel’s keynote address for the Vienna Humanities Festival, followed by a conversation with IWM Permanent Fellow IVAN KRASTEV, invites us to seriously rethink the fundamentals of the society in which we want to live.


© MS

Michael Sandel teaches political philosophy at Harvard University.  His books on justice, democracy, ethics, and markets have been translated into more than 30 languages. He has been described as “a rock star moralist” (Newsweek) and “the world’s most influential living philosopher.” (New Statesman) Sandel’s books include The Tyranny of Merit; What Money Can’t Buy; Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?; The Case Against Perfection: Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineering; and Democracy’s Discontent: A New Edition for Our Perilous Times. Sandel’s free online course “Justice” has been viewed by tens of millions. His BBC series “The Global Philosopher” engages participants from around the world in discussion of issues such as immigration, climate change, and free speech. A recipient of Spain’s Princess of Asturias Award, Sandel has been a visiting professor at the Sorbonne and delivered the Tanner Lectures on Human Values at Oxford. His lectures have packed such venues as St. Paul’s Cathedral (London), the Sydney Opera House (Australia), and an outdoor stadium in Seoul (S. Korea), where 14,000 people came to hear him speak.



Ivan Krastev is chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia and is a Permanent Fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences, IWM Vienna. He is a founding board member of ECFR, a member of Open Society Foundations’ global advisory board, a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, and the author of the widely acclaimed book After Europe. In 2020, he was awarded the Jean Améry Prize for European essay writing. Previously, he served as executive director of the International Commission on the Balkans and as editor-in-chief of the Bulgarian edition of Foreign Policy.

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