Welfare biology is the study of living things and their environment with respect to their welfare (defined as net happiness, or enjoyment minus suffering). Despite difficulties of ascertaining and measuring welfare and relevancy to normative issues, welfare biology is a positive science. Evolutionary economics and population dynamics are used to help answer basic questions in welfare biology: Which species are affective sentients capable of welfare? Do they enjoy positive or negative welfare? Can (...) their welfare be dramatically increased? Under plausible axioms, all conscious species are plastic and all plastic species are conscious (and, with a stronger axiom, capable of welfare). More complex niches favour the evolution of more rational species. Evolutionary economics also supports the common-sense view that individual sentients failing to survive to mate suffer negative welfare. A kind of God-made (or evolution-created) fairness between species is also unexpectedly found. The contrast between growth maximization (as may be favoured by natural selection), average welfare, and total welfare maximization is discussed. It is shown that welfare could be increased without even sacrificing numbers (at equilibrium). Since the long-term reduction in animal suffering depends on scientific advances, strict restrictions on animal experimentation may be counter-productive to animal welfare. (shrink)
The tenuous claims of cost-benefit analysis to guide policy so as to promote welfare turn on measuring welfare by preference satisfaction and taking willingness-to-pay to indicate preferences. Yet it is obvious that people's preferences are not always self-interested and that false beliefs may lead people to prefer what is worse for them even when people are self-interested. So welfare is not preference satisfaction, and hence it appears that cost-benefit analysis and welfareeconomics in general rely (...) on a mistaken theory of well-being. This essay explores the difficulties, criticizes standard defences of welfareeconomics, and then offers a new partial defence that maintains that welfareeconomics is independent of any philosophical theory of well-being. Welfareeconomics requires nothing more than an evidential connection between preference and welfare: in circumstances in which people are concerned with their own interests and reasonably good judges of what will serve their interests, their preferences will be reliable indicators of what is good for them. (shrink)
This essay criticizes the proposal recently defended by a number of prominent economists that welfareeconomics be redirected away from the satisfaction of people's preferences and toward making people happy instead. Although information about happiness may sometimes be of use, the notion of happiness is sufficiently ambiguous and the objections to identifying welfare with happiness are sufficiently serious that welfare economists are better off using preference satisfaction as a measure of welfare. The essay also examines (...) and criticizes the position associated with Daniel Kahneman and a number of co-authors that takes welfare to be – that is, the sum of momentary pleasures. (shrink)
ABSTRACT This paper compares two alternative answers to the question ?Who is the addressee of welfareeconomics?? These answers correspond with different understandings of the status of the normative conclusions of welfareeconomics and have different implications for how welfareeconomics should be adapted in the light of the findings of behavioural economics. The conventional welfarist answer is that welfareeconomics is addressed to a ?social planner?, whose objective is to maximize (...) the overall well-being of society; the planner is imagined as a benevolent despot, receptive to the economist's advice. The alternative contractarian answer is that welfareeconomics is addressed to individuals who are seeking mutually beneficial agreements; a contractarian recommendation has the form ?It is in the interests of each of you separately that all of you together agree to do x?. Each of these answers should be understood as a literary convention that uses a highly simplified model of politics. I defend the contractarian approach and show that it is less supportive of ?soft paternalism? than is the welfarist approach. (shrink)
The purpose of this study is to analyse the implications of Sen's impossibility result, the liberal paradox, for orthodox welfareeconomics. Because the rather special format of social choice theory makes it a little difficult to be sure of the relevance of this result, the whole dilemma is posed here in terms of a rather informal analysis of information al patterns.On the one hand, it is argued that the traditional approach to welfareeconomics, including both utilitarianism (...) and Paretian ordinalism, contains severe informational constraints eliminating the use of all kinds of independent non-utility information in the social evaluation process. This property, called welfarism, is also present in the weak Pareto principle, which conflicts with even minimal requirements of personal liberty according to Sen's result.On the other hand, it is argued that there is in fact little to be “resolved” in this problem in spite of several attempts to circumvent the conflict. These studies are argued to be mainly ad hoc solutions to the formal problem and relevant only to the extent they indicate how severe restrictions are needed to avoid the paradox. The analogy with the prisoner's dilemma does not work either. Since liberal values are intrinsically non-welfaristic, the liberal paradox can be interpreted as only one, but a rather powerful, example of the informational deficiency of the orthodox approach.Finally, it is argued that the liberal paradox has striking implications for both the concept of preference and social optimum as well as empirical research on social welfare. This means that if the impossibility is to be taken seriously we need to revalue both the status of utility information and the role of the Pareto principle in social welfare analysis. (shrink)
The paper discusses the sense in which the changes undergone by normative economics in the twentieth century can be said to be progressive. A simple criterion is proposed to decide whether a sequence of normative theories is progressive. This criterion is put to use on the historical transition from the new welfareeconomics to social choice theory. The paper reconstructs this classic case, and eventually concludes that the latter theory was progressive compared with the former. It also (...) briefly comments on the recent developments in normative economics and their connection with the previous two stages. (Published Online April 18 2006) Footnotes1 This paper suspersedes an earlier one entitled “Is There Progress in Normative Economics?” (Mongin 2002). I thank the organizers of the Fourth ESHET Conference (Graz 2000) for the opportunity they gave me to lecture on this topic. Thanks are also due to J. Alexander, K. Arrow, A. Bird, R. Bradley, M. Dascal, W. Gaertner, N. Gravel, D. Hausman, B. Hill, C. Howson, N. McClennen, A. Trannoy, J. Weymark, J. Worrall, two annonymous referees of this journal, and especially the editor M. Fleurbaey, for helpful comments. The editor's suggestions contributed to determine the final orientation of the paper. The author is grateful to the LSE and the Lachmann Foundation for their support at the time when he was writing the initial version. (shrink)
Contemporary Austrian?school economists reject neoclassical welfare theory for being founded on the benchmark of a perfectly competitive general equilibrium, and instead favor a formal theory deemed consistent with the notions of radical subjectivism and disequilibrium analysis. Roy Cordato advances a bold free?market benchmark by which to formally assess social welfare, economic efficiency, and externalities issues. Like all formalist, a priori theory, however, Cordato's reformulation cannot meet its own standards, being theoretically and empirically flawed, and perhaps ideologically suspect.
F. Bailey Norwood and Jayson L. Lusk: Compassion by the Pound: The Economics of Farm Animal Welfare Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-5 DOI 10.1007/s10806-012-9377-z Authors Paul B. Thompson, WK Kellogg Professor of Agricultural, Food and Community Ethics, Department of Philosophy, Michigan State University, 503 South Kedzie Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824-1032, USA Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863.
This paper challenges traditional views which oppose health economics and medical ethics by arguing that economic assessment is a necessary complement to medical ethics and can help to improve public participation and democratic processes in choices about resource allocation for health care technologies. In support of this argument, four points are emphasized: (1) Most current biomedical ethical debates implicitly deal with economic issues of resource allocation. (2) Clinical decisions, which usually respect the Hippocratic code of ethics, are nevertheless influenced (...) by economic incentives and constraints. (3) Economic assessment is concerned with both efficiency and equity and potential trade-offs between the two, which means that ethical judgements are always embedded in welfareeconomics. (4) The real debate is not between economics on the one side and medical ethics on the other. Rather it is between different ethical conceptions of social justice and the contrasting approaches they entail to reconciling individual interests and preferences with collective goods and welfare. (shrink)
For much of human history, most of the population lived and worked on farms but today, information about livestock is more likely to come from children's books than hands-on experience. When romanticized notions of an agrarian lifestyle meet with the realities of the modern industrial farm, the result is often a plea for a return to antiquated production methods. The result is a brewing controversy between animal activist groups, farmers, and consumers that is currently being played out in ballot boxes, (...) courtrooms, and in the grocery store. Where is one to turn for advice when deciding whether to pay double the price for cage-free eggs, or in determining how to vote on ballot initiates seeking to ban practices such as the use of gestation crates in pork production or battery cage egg production? At present, there is no clear answer. What is missing from the animal welfare debate is an objective approach that can integrate the writings of biologists and philosophers, while providing a sound and logical basis for determining the consequences of farm animal welfare policies. What is missing in the debate? Economics. -/- This book journeys from the earliest days of animal domestication to modern industrial farms. Delving into questions of ethics and animal sentience, the authors use data from ingenious consumers' experiments conducted with real food, real money, and real animals to compare the costs and benefits of improving animal care. They show how the economic approach to animal welfare raises new questions and ethical conundrums, as well as providing unique and counter-intuitive results. (shrink)
Ethics in business and economics is often attacked for being too superficial. By elaborating the conclusions of two such critics of business ethics and welfareeconomics respectively, this article will draw the attention to the ethics behind these apparently well-intended, but not always convincing constructions, by help of the fundamental ethics of Emmanuel Levinas. To Levinas, responsibility is more basic than language, and thus also more basic than all social constructions. Co-operation relations in organizations, markets and value (...) networks are generated from personal relations and personal responsibilities. It is not sufficient to integrate ethics in an impersonal, rational system, neither in business organizations nor in the world economy. Ethics has its source not in rationality, but in the personal. (shrink)
Diplomatic theory and practice -- International funding for animal protection -- International conferences and delegation management -- The media as a tool for diplomacy -- Important associations and international organizations -- Epilogue.
The European Union welfare standardsfor intensively kept pigs have steadilyincreased over the past few years and areproposed to continue in the future. It isimportant that the cost implications of thesechanges in welfare standards are assessed. Theaim of this study was to determine theprofitability of rearing pigs in a range ofhousing systems with different standards forpig welfare. Models were constructed tocalculate the cost of pig rearing (6–95 kg) in afully-slatted system (fulfilling minimum EUspace requirements, Directive 91630/EEC); apartly-slatted system; (...) a high-welfare,straw-based system (complying with the UK-basedRoyal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty toAnimals, Freedom Food standards) and afree-range system. The models were also used toassess the consequences of potential increasesin space allowance, and to estimate the cost ofrearing pigs under organic standards.The cost of rearing pigs ranged from92.0 p/kg carcass weight (cw) and 94.6 p/kgcw forthe partly-slatted and fully-slatted systems,to 98.8 p/kgcw and 99.3 p/kgcw for the FreedomFood and free-range systems respectively. Whenspace allowance was increased by 60% to levelsin a recent proposal to revise pig welfareDirective (91/630/EEC), the rearing costs wereunchanged for the free-range system but rose by4.6 p/kgcw for the fully-slatted system. Rearingcosts under organic standards were 31% higherthan in the free-range system. These resultssuggest that improved pig welfare can beachieved with a modest increase in cost. (shrink)
Decisions related to animal welfare (AW) standards depend on farmer’s multiple goals and values and are constrained by a wide range of external and internal forces. The aim of this paper is twofold, i.e., (1) to develop a theoretical framework for farmers’ AW decisions that incorporates farmers’ goals, use and non-use values and (2) to present an approach to empirically implement the theoretical framework. The farmer as a head of the farm household makes choices regarding production to maximize the (...) utility of the household. The overall utility of the farmer is determined by his multiple objectives. For the analysis of multi-objective problems, the multiple criteria decision-making paradigm provides an appropriate theoretical framework. However, theories from the field of social-psychology are needed to facilitate the identification of all relevant aspects in the decision making (i.e., factors that explain behavior). The practical use of the conceptual framework is demonstrated using a simple numerical application of a multi-objective programming model. Two workshops were devoted to examining the scientific consistency and the practical usefulness of the approach. Implementing this approach will increase knowledge of the main factors and barriers that determine farmers’ decisions with regard to AW standards. This knowledge is relevant during the development of new AW concepts that aims to supply products that comply with above-legal AW standards for middle-market segments. (shrink)
Different perspectives on corporate social responsibility (CSR) exist, each with their own agenda. Some emphasise management responsibilities towards stakeholders, others argue that companies should actively contribute to social goals, and yet others reject a social responsibility of business beyond legal compliance. In addition, CSR initiatives relate to different issues, such as labour standards and corruption. This article analyses what types of CSR initiatives are supported by political and economic arguments. The distinction between different CSR perspectives and CSR issues on the (...) one hand and between political and economic arguments on the other could help to advance the debate on the justification and welfare impact of CSR. It is argued that ordinary boundary conditions for business behaviour in a market economy provide support for some, but not all, CSR initiatives. This has implications for policy priorities. Building on the analysis, it is proposed that more attention should be paid to the behaviour of large multinational enterprises in their normal business operations and to CSR issues with a potentially large impact on market functioning. (shrink)
This article argues that there is a natural solution to carry out interpersonal comparisons of utility when the theory of gambles is supplemented with a group operation of joint receipts. If so, three types of people can exist, and the two types having multiplicative representations of joint receipt have, in contrast to most utility theories, absolute scales of utility. This makes possible, at least in principle, meaningful interpersonal comparisons of utility with desirable properties, thus resolving a long standing philosophical problem (...) and having potentially important implications in economics. Two behavioral criteria are given for the three classes of people. At this point the relative class sizes are unknown. (shrink)
The paper analyses economic evaluations by distinguishing evaluative statements from actual value judgments. From this basis, it compares four solutions to the value neutrality problem in economics. After rebutting the strong theses about neutrality (normative economics is illegitimate) and non-neutrality (the social sciences are value-impregnated), the paper settles the case between the weak neutrality thesis (common in welfareeconomics) and a novel, weak non-neutrality thesis that extends the realm of normative economics more widely than the (...) other weak thesis does. (shrink)
This book introduces the moral philosophy of Immanuel Kant—in particular, the concepts of autonomy, dignity, and character—to economic theory, explaining the importance of integrating these two streams of intellectual thought. Mainstream economics is rooted in classical utilitarianism, recommending that decision makers choose the options that are expected to generate the largest net benefits. For individuals, the standard economic model fails to incorporate the role of principles in decision-making, and also denies the possibility of true choice, which can be independent (...) of preferences and principles altogether. For policymakers, standard decision-making frameworks recommend tradeoffs that are beneficial in terms of material goods or wealth, but may be morally questionable from a more person-centered perspective. Integrating Kantian ethics affects economics in three important ways. This integration allows for a more complete understanding of human choice, incorporating not just preferences and constraints, but also principles and strength of will or character. It demonstrates the broader impact of welfareeconomics, which generates policies that affect not only persons' well-being, but also their dignity and autonomy. Finally, it reconciles the traditional, individualist stance in economic models of choice with the social responsibility emphasized by many systems of philosophical ethics and heterodox schools of economics. (shrink)
Hermeneutics has become a major topic of debate throughout the scholarly community. What has been called the "interpretive turn" has led to interesting new approaches in both the human and social sciences, and has helped to transform divided disciplines by bringing them closer together. Yet one of the largest and most important social sciences economics has so far been almost completely left out of the transformation. Economics and Hermeneutics takes a significant step towards filling this gap by introducing (...) scholars on both sides of the divide to ways that hermeneutics might help economists address some of their most important problems. Among the topics addressed are entrepreneurship, price theory, rational expectations, monetary theory, welfareeconomics, and economic policy. The approaches to economics represented include the Austrian school, McCloskey's "rhetoric" approach, Marxian critical theory and institutionalism. (shrink)
This paper describes a flaw in the teaching of issues related to market economics and social justice at American institutions of higher learning. The flaw we speak of is really a gap, or an educational disconnect, which exists between those faculty who support market-based economies and those who believe capitalism promotes economic injustice. The thesis of this paper is that the gap is so wide and the ideas that are promoted are so disconnected that students are trapped into choosing (...) one or the other position (or neither) and are left unable to link the two sides of the discussion. Such an educational process is not one that produces free and reasoned discernment. In this paper, we briefly relate how we came to be aware of the disconnect and its harms. We present evidence that a pedagogical gulf exists within the teaching of markets and capitalism at American universities - faculty interviews, course syllabi, portions of the corpus of material generally referred to as Catholic Social Thought, as well as references to traditional, mainstream economic theory. Further, we give evidence of the confusion and frustration among students this gulf causes. We suggest possible reasons for the gulf-primarily through an investigation of the differences in underlying assumptions and misperceptions that exist between two divisions within universities. We conclude by suggesting a set of curricular changes designed to improve teaching. The authors' aim is not to change people's minds. It is to change their teaching. The authors believe that these curricular changes will leave students less frustrated and better prepared for a life of significant service - with improved critical thinking skills. (shrink)
Behavioral economics focuses mainly on how limitations of the human cognitive apparatus, risk attitudes, and human sociality affect decision making. The former two lead to deviations from rationality standards, the latter to deviations from rational self-interest. Some of these research interests are also shared by evolutionary psychology which, however, explains the observed deviations by features of the human genetic endowment conjectured to have evolved under fierce selection pressure in early human phylogeny. Important as the decision-making theoretical perspective of the (...) two disciplines is, it will be claimed to be too narrow to fully account for what an evolutionary approach has to say about economic behavior. This is particularly true regarding the questions of what choices are made and what causes them, i.e., the motivational aspects of behavior. In the language of economics this points to the agents’ preferences. This article discusses how preferences relate to the human genetic endowment, how they can change over time, and what conclusions have to be drawn from extending the analysis to the motivational side. (shrink)