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.
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)
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.
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)
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 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)
The concept of preference dominates economic theory today. It performs a triple duty for economists, grounding their theories of individual behavior, welfare, and rationality. Microeconomic theory assumes that individuals act so as to maximize their utility – that is, to maximize the degree to which their preferences are satisfied. Welfareeconomics defines individual welfare in terms of preference satisfaction or utility, and social welfare as a function of individual preferences. Finally, economists assume that the rational (...) act is the act that maximally satisfies an individual's preferences. The habit of framing problems in terms of the concept of preference is now so entrenched that economists rarely entertain alternatives. (shrink)
The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Economics is a cutting-edge reference work to philosophical issues in the practice of economics. It is motivated by the view that there is more to economics than general equilibrium theory, and that the philosophy of economics should reflect the diversity of activities and topics that currently occupy economists. Contributions in the Handbook are thus closely tied to ongoing theoretical and empirical concerns in economics. Contributors include both philosophers of science (...) and economists. Chapters fall into three general categories: received views in philosophy of economics, ongoing controversies in microeconomics, and issues in modeling, macroeconomics, and development. Specific topics include methodology, game theory, experimental economics, behavioral economics, neuroeconomics, computational economics, data mining, interpersonal comparisons of utility, measurement of welfare and well being, growth theory and development, and microfoundations of macroeconomics. The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Economics is a groundbreaking reference like no other in its field. It is a central resource for those wishing to learn about the philosophy of economics, and for those who actively engage in the discipline, from advanced undergraduates to professional philosophers, economists, and historians. (shrink)
The standard allocative efficiency criteria used by economists (Pareto efficiency and Kaldor-Hicks efficiency) are fundamentally unable to rank a slave-labor system against a free-labor system. Given either set of initial property rights assignments the market can reach (or fail to reach) allocative efficiency (that is, allocate resources to their highest-valued uses), but welfareeconomics provides no meta-framework for ranking initial assignments. This finding underscores the limits to the usefulness of efficiency criteria: they cannot settle all questions, and unfortunately (...) are least decisive just where the stakes are greatest (namely, where wealth effects of alternative assignments are greatest). Explicitly ethical criteria are needed to make the ranking. Key Words: Pareto efficiency Kaldor-Hicks efficiency property rights welfareeconomics. (shrink)
Mounting evidence suggests that the human impact on the planet is reaching the point where the Earth's ecosystems will not be able to support the level of human occupation. The global economy also seems to be generating income disparities that threaten the social stability of even the most developed economies. Although both these trends are rooted in the operation of the global market economy, standard economics has surprisingly little to offer in the way of policies that might allow us (...) to survive the twenty-first century with our current social and environmental systems intact. This article examines our current predicament from the point of view of neoclassical welfareeconomics and the alternative framework of ecological economics. We argue that ecological economics, by placing the study of economics squarely within human society and ecosystems, can lead the way to make economics both scientifically credible and policy relevant. (shrink)
This paper contrasts the value maximization norm of welfareeconomics that is central to law and economics in its prescriptive mode to the Aristotelian/Aquinian principles of Catholic social thought. The reluctance (or inability) of welfareeconomics and law and economics to make judgments about about utilities (or preferences) differs profoundly from the Catholic tradition (rooted in Aristotle as well as religious faith) of contemplation of the nature of the good. This paper also critiques the (...) interesting argument by Stephen Bainbridge that homo economicus bears a certain affinity to fallen man, and that law and economics thus provides appropriate rules for a fallen world. From a Catholic perspective, the social vision of neo-classical economics and its progeny (welfareeconomics and law and economics) rests on a concept of human autonomy and a utilitarian concept of pleasure inconsistent with the Aristotelian and Aquinean concept of virtue and the conception of civic happiness articulated by Antonio Genovesi and other Catholic economists. (shrink)
This paper gives prescriptions for introducing ethical concerns into the economic theory of the firm. Topics include social responsibility, corporate governance, profit maximization, competition barriers, collusion, the market system, and welfareeconomics. The need for such prescriptions is based on a content analysis of 21 managerial economics texts for their coverage of ethics. My analysis finds that substantive discussions of ethics are conspicuous by their absence. As ethical breaches can involve significant monetary damages to a firm – (...) particularly through adverse market reactions – moral-reasoning abilities can complement analytical skills. Consequently, my analysis demonstrates how ethics figure into the opportunity costs of managerial decision making, which is central to the economic definition of profit. (shrink)
Amartya Sen has made deep and lasting contributions to the academic disciplines of economics, philosophy, and the social sciences more broadly. He has engaged in policy dialogue and public debate, advancing the cause of a human development focused policy agenda, and a tolerant and democratic polity. This argumentative Indian has made the case for the poorest of the poor, and for plurality in cultural perspective. It is not surprising that he has won the highest awards, ranging from the Nobel (...) Prize in Economics to the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honor. This public recognition has gone hand in hand with the affection and admiration that Amartya's friends and students hold for him. -/- This volume of essays, written in honor of his 75th birthday by his students and peers, covers the range of contributions that Sen has made to knowledge. They are written by some of the world's leading economists, philosophers and social scientists, and address topics such as ethics, welfareeconomics, poverty, gender, human development, society and politics. This first volume covers the topics of Ethics, Normative Economics and Welfare; Agency, Aggregation and Social Choice; Poverty, Capabilities and Measurement; and Identity, Collective Action and Public Economics. It is a fitting tribute to Sen's own contributions to the discourse on Ethics, Welfare and Measurement. -/- Contributors include: Sabina Alkire, Paul Anand, Sudhir Anand, Kwame Anthony Appiah, A. B. Atkinson, Walter Bossert, Francois Bourguignon, John Broome, Satya R. Chakravarty, Rajat Deb, Bhaskar Dutta, James E. Foster, Wulf Gaertner, Indranil K. Ghosh, Peter Hammond, Christopher Handy, Christopher Harris, Satish K. Jain, Isaac Levi, Oliver Linton, S. R. Osmani, Prasanta K. Pattanaik, Edmund S. Phelps, Mozaffar Qizilbash, Martin Ravallion, Kevin Roberts, Ingrid Robeyns, Maurice Salles, Cristina Santos, T. M. Scanlon, Arjun Sengupta, Tae Kun Seo, Anthony Shorrocks , Ron Smith, Joseph E. Stiglitz, S. Subramanian, Kotaro Suzumura, Alain Trannoy, Guanghua Wan, John A. Weymark, and Yongsheng Xu. (shrink)
This book shows through accessible argument and numerous examples how understanding moral philosophy can improve economic analysis, how moral philosophy can benefit from economists' analytical tools, and how economic analysis and moral philosophy together can inform public policy. Part I explores rationality and its connections to morality. It argues that in defending their model of rationality, mainstream economists implicitly espouse contestable moral principles. Part II concerns welfare, utilitarianism and standard welfareeconomics, while Part III considers important moral (...) notions that are left out of standard welfareeconomics, such as freedom, rights, equality, and justice. Part III also emphasizes the variety of moral considerations that are relevant to evaluating policies. Part IV then introduces technical work in social choice theory and game theory that is guided by ethical concepts and relevant to moral theorizing. Chapters include recommended readings and the book includes a glossary of relevant terms. (shrink)
Amartya Sen has made deep and lasting contributions to the academic disciplines of economics, philosophy, and the social sciences more broadly. He has engaged in policy dialogue and public debate, advancing the cause of a human development focused policy agenda, and a tolerant and democratic polity. This argumentative Indian has made the case for the poorest of the poor, and for plurality in cultural perspective. It is not surprising that he has won the highest awards, ranging from the Nobel (...) Prize in Economics to the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honor. This public recognition has gone hand in hand with the affection and admiration that Amartya's friends and students hold for him. -/- This volume of essays, written in honor of his 75th birthday by his students and peers, covers the range of contributions that Sen has made to knowledge. They are written by some of the world's leading economists, philosophers and social scientists, and address topics such as ethics, welfareeconomics, poverty, gender, human development, society and politics. -/- Contributors include: Bina Agarwal, Isher Ahluwalia, Montek S Ahluwalia, Ingela Alger, Sabina Alkire, Paul Anand, Sudhir Anand, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Muhammad Asali, Department of Economics, A. B. Atkinson, Amiya Kumar Bagchi, Pranab Bardhan, Lourdes Benería, Francois Bourguignon, Sugata Bose, Walter Bossert, John Broome, Satya R. Chakravarty, Lincoln C. Chen, Martha Alter Chen, Kanchan Chopra, Rajat Deb, Simon Dietz, Bhaskar Dutta, James E. Foster, Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Wulf Gaertner, Indranil K. Ghosh, Jonathan Glover, Peter Hammond, Christopher Handy, Christopher Harris, Cameron Hepburn, Jane Humphries, Rizwanul Islam, Satish K. Jain, Ayesha Jalal, Mary Kaldor, Sunil Khilnani, Stephan Klasen, Jocelyn Kynch, Isaac Levi, Oliver Linton, Enrica Chiappero Martinetti, Kirsty McNay, Martha C. Nussbaum, Siddiqur R. Osmani, Elinor Ostrom, Prasanta K. Pattanaik, Edmund S. Phelps, Mozaffar Qizilbash, Gustav Ranis, Martin Ravallion, Sanjay G. Reddy, Kevin Roberts, Ingrid Robeyns, Maurice Salles, Emma Samman, Cristina Santos, Thomas. M. Scanlon, Arjun Sengupta, Tae Kun Seo, Anthony Shorrocks, Ronald Smith, Rehman Sobhan, Robert M. Solow, Nicholas Stern, Frances Stewart, Joseph E. Stiglitz, S. Subramanian, Kotaro Suzumura, Alain Trannoy, Ashutosh Varshney, Sujata Visaria, Guanghua Wan, Jörgen W. Weibull, John A. Weymark, and Yongsheng Xu. (shrink)
Do economists accept absurd and unsupported claims about reality, and if so, why? We define four types of claims commonly made in economics that require different types of evidence, and show examples of each from the rational addiction literature. Claims about real world causal mechanisms and welfare effects seem poorly supported. A survey mailed to all researchers with peer-reviewed work on rational addiction theory provides some evidence that criteria for evaluating claims of pure theory and statistical prediction (...) are better understood than those needed for claims of causality or welfare analysis. We suggest that unsupported claims about real world causality or welfare may be accepted in parts of economics provided they derive from a formally correct model consistent with certain types of (often aggregate) data. The rational addiction literature illustrates that this can lead to absurd and unjustified claims being made and accepted in even highly-ranked journals. (shrink)
In the Law and Economics literature optimizing techniques are used when a choice must be made between various legal constructions. Often, an aggregate or collective welfare measure is formulated and the legal rule is selected which generates through efficient individual behavior the aggregate welfare maximum. A problem emerges if an efficient and therefore rational decision is assumed both on the individual level and the aggregate level. The legal rules which play a part in forming the decision problem (...) for the individual efficient decision maker are treated in their turn as an efficient choice seen from the aggregate perspective. In what way then is the aggregate decision problem formulated? Again using the efficiency criterion? If we want to escape an infinite regress then we must include determining factors which cannot be proven efficient. (shrink)
Cranston argued that scarcity makes universal welfare rights impossible. After showing that this argument cannot be avoided by denying scarcity, I consider four challenges to the argument which accept the possibility of conflicts between the duties implied by rights. The first denies the agglomeration principle; the second embraces conflicts of duties; the third affirms the violability of all rights-based duties; and the fourth denies that duties to compensate are overriding. I argue that all four challenges to the scarcity argument (...) are unsuccessful. I then discuss Eddy’s recent challenge, which makes welfare rights context dependent, but I argue that this also fails because it makes rights unknowable. I conclude that the scarcity argument, restated in the light of the discussion, shows that universal welfare rights, as ordinarily understood, are impossible and I explain the philosophical and practical significance of this conclusion. (shrink)
To understand the human capacity for psychological altruism, one requires a proper understanding of how people actually think and feel. This paper addresses the possible relevance of recent findings in experimental economics and neuroeconomics to the philosophical controversy over altruism and egoism. After briefly sketching and contextualizing the controversy, we survey and discuss the results of various studies on behaviourally altruistic helping and punishing behaviour, which provide stimulating clues for the debate over psychological altruism. On closer analysis, these studies (...) prove less relevant than originally expected because the data obtained admit competing interpretations – such as people seeking fairness versus people seeking revenge. However, this mitigated conclusion does not preclude the possibility of more fruitful research in the area in the future. Throughout our analysis, we provide hints for the direction of future research on the question. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to address the problem of unemployment. Economists generally agree that a zero rate of unemployment is not only unattainable but also undesirable within capitalism. This is problematic because, as it will be shown, unemployment has adverse effects on both individuals and societies. Assuming that the primary aim of economics is to improve people’s lives, it behooves us to find a solution to the problem of unemployment. Two solutions will be offered. The first works (...) within the confines of the capitalist system –it requires instituting welfare policies that alleviate the adverse effects of unemployment. The second involves a paradigm change –it requires replacing capitalism with an alternative economic system that is consistent with a zero rate of unemployment. (shrink)
Mainstream risk analysis deviates in at least two important respects from the rationality ideal of mainstream economics. First, expected utility maximization is not applied in a consistent way. It is applied to endodoxastic uncertainty, i.e. the uncertainty (or risk) expressed in a risk assessment, but in many cases not to metadoxastic uncertainty, i.e. uncertainty about which of several competing assessments is correct. Instead, a common approach to metadoxastic uncertainty is to only take the most plausible assessment into account. This (...) will typically lead to risk-prone deviations from risk-neutrality. Secondly, risks and benefits for different persons are added to form a total value of risk. Such calculations are used to support the view that one should accept being exposed to a risk if it brings greater benefits for others. This is in stark contrast to modern Paretian welfareeconomics, that refrains from interindividual comparisons and does not require people to accept a disadvantage because it brings a larger advantage for others. (Published Online July 11 2006). (shrink)
Rational addiction theories illustrate how absurd choice theories in economics get taken seriously as possibly true explanations and tools for welfare analysis despite being poorly interpreted, empirically unfalsifiable, and based on wildly inaccurate assumptions selectively justified by ad-hoc stories. The lack of transparency introduced by poorly anchored mathematical models, the psychological persuasiveness of stories, and the way the profession neglects relevant issues are suggested as explanations for how what we perhaps should see as displays of technical skill and (...) ingenuity are allowed to blur the lines between science and games. (shrink)
Louis Kaplow and Steven Shavell are talented and distinguished legal academics who for the past several years have been working jointly on a massive project in normative law and economics. The project's goal is to answer the question: What are the criteria by which legal policies (rules, standards, decisions, and other authoritative acts) ought to be assessed and proposals calling for their reform to be evaluated? In answering this question, they consider two normative frameworks--one defined by a concern for (...) the impact of policies on human welfare, the other defined by a concern for various principles of fairness. Thus, the title of the book: Fairness Versus Welfare. There is no surprise ending, as from the outset Kaplow and Shavell are clear that they judge welfare the unambiguous winner of the competition. -/- Previous iterations of the book have been in circulation for some time and available on the Internet. In addition, Kaplow and Shavell have made the rounds of law and economics workshops for several years, taking the opportunity such occasions provide to set out and defend the book's central claims. Beyond that, the book has been the subject of numerous conferences and panels at professional meetings. It is unlikely, therefore, that many intended readers are not already familiar with its claims and the arguments marshaled on their behalf. -/- Even so, it is useful to distinguish among three groups of potential readers. The first two groups are the representatives of protagonists. On the one side are the deontologists--philosophers and legal theorists committed to the idea that some or other deontic considerations must play an independent role in assessing legal practice as well as calls for its reform. Along with everyone from Plato and Aristotle to Kant, Rawls, and Dworkin, Kaplow and Shavell are kind enough explicitly to include me in this group. This group is their target. As Kaplow and Shavell see it, no argument they could muster might convince the deontologists of the error of their ways, so hopelessly are the deontologists in the grip of a mistaken view. On the other side stand the fellow travelers along the law-and-economics highway. This group represents Kaplow and Shavell's natural allies. Although the argument of the book might firm their resolve, and harden them in battles with the deontologists, it is not necessary to persuade them. The argument of the book will be lost on the first group and otiose for the second. This leaves the uncommitted law professor searching for an analytical and normative framework within which to organize her thinking and through which to sharpen her critical lens. The book is self-consciously aimed at capturing the hearts and minds of this segment of the legal academy. -/- It should come as something of a surprise, then, that among the most vehement critics of Kaplow and Shavell's project are other advocates of an economic approach to the law. Whereas most deontologists are likely merely to dismiss Kaplow and Shavell as unsophisticated and their arguments as inadequately nuanced, the majority of law-and-economics scholars are anxious to dissociate themselves from a thesis they are convinced is dangerous to the cause. Why? The answer is that the book openly endorses precisely the imperialistic claims with which others have saddled the law-and-economics movement, often in an effort to discredit it as inadequately catholic or, in the extreme, uncivilized. Whereas the vast majority of law-and-economics scholars have been trying to make the case for including efficiency among the factors suitable to assessing legal reform proposals, the entire point of the Kaplow and Shavell argument is that the only considerations that can figure in a rational reform policy are those of human welfare--or efficiency properly construed. -/- One might suppose that any book that triggers so much fear and loathing--that sends its natural allies scampering for shelter and engenders apoplexy among its targets--has to be either really dreadful or of fundamental importance. Fairness Versus Welfare is neither. The book is divided into two parts of very unequal length. In the first part, the authors distinguish the two competing normative frameworks of fairness and welfare from one another and set forth the general framework by which they shall adjudicate between the two. In the second, and by far the longer, section of the book, they set out to make good on the strategy of evaluation by comparing fairness and welfare in a wide range of areas of the law--both private and public. The argument of the book requires for its success treating the two parts of the book as connected. That is because the objection to fairness is that the price of fairness is too high in terms of its likely impact on welfare, and so it is the burden of the second part to establish just how extensive those detrimental effects are likely to be. In this sense, the second part forms the evidentiary base for the thesis of the first part. -/- In fact, however, the second part of the book can stand on its own and constitutes a significant contribution to discussions of the impact on human welfare of various regimes of rules, standards, and policies in a wide range of areas of the law. The source of consternation for "friend" and foe alike is the first part of the book. Whereas the second part is nearly invaluable to anyone interested in policy analysis and legal reform, the first part's argument is entirely unsuccessful. Unfortunately, the overall argument of the book depends crucially on it. -/- Fairness Versus Welfare claims that welfare, and not fairness, is the standard appropriate to assessing the law and calls for its reform. This is a normative claim and, as such, requires normative argument on its behalf. Any suitable argument for the authors' claim then will consist in a set of reasons or grounds for the claim that welfare, and not fairness, is the appropriate basis for assessing law and its reform. The burden of providing an account of what is to count as grounds or reasons for that claim is the task of the first part of the book: the evaluative framework. Sadly, instead of discharging that obligation, Fairness Versus Welfare serves up empty tautological claims and underdeveloped putative causal explanations--explanations, moreover, that were they in fact adequate, would be so strong as to undermine, rather than support, the book's overall thesis. Fairness Versus Welfare makes a bold normative claim, but it offers no argument adequate to support it. -/- In Part I of this Review, I summarize the debate on the normative foundation of efficiency prior to the publication of the Kaplow and Shavell book. In Part II, I criticize Kaplow and Shavell's argument that welfare is the uniquely appropriate standard for the assessment of the law and proposals for its reform. In Part III of this Review, I sketch an alternative account of the value of welfare. On that view, however, whatever it is about welfare that explains its value and aptness for assessing the law also explains why fairness is valuable and appropriate to assessing the law. In short, Kaplow and Shavell's account of welfare fails to explain its value and its role in evaluating the law. On the other hand, any plausible account of welfare that is capable of explaining its value explains as well the value of fairness and its appropriateness to evaluating the law and proposals for its reform. The central claim of the book is not just inadequately defended, but, at the end of the day, unsupportable. (shrink)
Some Romanian feminist scholars argue that welfare policies of post-communist states are deeply unjust to women and preclude them from reaching economic autonomy. The upshot of this argument is that liberal economic policy would advance feminist goals better than the welfare state. How should we read this dissonance between Western and some Eastern feminist scholarship concerning distributive justice? I identify the problem of dependency at the core of a possible debate about feminism and welfare. Worries about how (...) decades of communism have shaped citizenry feed feminists' suspicion of the welfare state and fears of paternalist policies. I criticize the arguments in favour of neoliberal policies and I suggest a crucial distinction between legitimate, universal forms of human dependency and dependencies that result from particular social arrangements. (shrink)
Kumaraswamy Vela Velupillai  presents a constructivist perspective on the foundations of mathematical economics, praising the views of Feynman in developing path integrals and Dirac in developing the delta function. He sees their approach as consistent with the Bishop constructive mathematics and considers its view on the Bolzano-Weierstrass, Hahn-Banach, and intermediate value theorems, and then the implications of these arguments for such “crown jewels” of mathematical economics as the existence of general equilibrium and the second welfare theorem. (...) He also relates these ideas to the weakening of certain assumptions to allow for more general results as shown by Rosser  in his extension of Gödel’s incompleteness theorem in his opening section. This paper considers these arguments in reverse order, moving from the matters of economics applications to the broader issue of constructivist mathematics, concluding by considering the views of Rosser on these matters, drawing both on his writings and on personal conversations with him. (shrink)
A survey was carried out among two groups of undergraduate economics students and four groups of students in mathematics, law, philosophy and business administration. The main survey question involved a conflict between profit maximisation and the welfare of the workers who would be fired to achieve it. Significant differences were found between the choices of the groups. The results were reinforced by a survey conducted among readers of an Israeli business newspaper and PhD students of Harvard. It is (...) argued that the overly mathematical methods used to teach economics encourage students to lean towards profit maximisation. (shrink)
This book studies the interfaces of ethics, economics, and politics. Public policy issues involve all three of these subjects. Although it may be seen as suggesting the nucleus of a joint university course, the book is accessible to and should interest all those concerned with political decisions. Any such decision needs a criterion for judging whether one action or outcome is better than another. Even a dictator must to some extent be concerned about the economic welfare of the (...) citizens; and a democratic government more so. But how is a person's economic welfare to be judged? Furthermore, any political decision affects the economic welfare of different people differently. How then is the welfare of a community to be judged? This is an ethical question. Underlying any coherent public policy there must be a relevant moral code. (shrink)
Providing health care in the most cost-effective way has become a priority in recent years. This book tackles the important issue of the potential conflict between economic expediency and the welfare of individual patients. Contributors examine different attitudes to this complex problem, along with a variety of legal and historical perspectives. The book addresses particular aspects of health care, such as medical expert systems, general practice, medical education, and clinical decision-making where the direct involvement of doctors in allocating scarce (...) and expensive resources is perhaps most obvious. (shrink)
One of the most important disputes in the foundations of ethics concerns the source of practical reasons. On the desire-based view, only one’s desires provide one with reasons to act. On the value-based view, reasons are instead provided by the objective evaluative facts, and never by our desires. Similarly, there are desire-based and non-desired-based theories about two other issues: pleasure and welfare. It has been argued, and is natural to think, that holding a desire-based theory about either pleasure or (...)welfare commits one to recognizing that desires do provide reasons for action – i.e., commits one to abandoning the value-based theory of reasons. The purpose of this paper is to show that this is not so. All of the following can be true: pleasure and welfare provide reasons; pleasure and welfare are to be understood in terms of desire; desires never provide reasons, in the relevant way. (shrink)
Many philosophers hold that the achievement of one’s goals can contribute to one’s welfare apart from whatever independent contributions that the objects of those goals, or the processes by which they are achieved, make. Call this the Achievement View, and call those who accept it achievementists. In this paper, I argue that achievementists should accept both (a) that one factor that affects how much the achievement of a goal contributes to one’s welfare is the amount that one has (...) invested in that goal and (b) that the amount that one has invested in a goal is a function of how much one has personally sacrificed for its sake, not a function of how much effort one has put into achieving it. So I will, contrary to at least one achievementist (viz., Keller 2004, 36), be arguing against the view that the greater the amount of productive effort that goes into achieving a goal, the more its achievement contributes to one’s welfare. Furthermore, I argue that the reason that the achievement of those goals for which one has personally sacrificed matters more to one’s welfare is that, in general, the redemption of one’s self-sacrifices in itself contributes to one’s welfare. Lastly, I argue that the view that the redemption of one’s self-sacrifices in itself contributes to one’s welfare is plausible independent of whether or not we find the Achievement View plausible. We should accept this view so as to account both for the Shape-of-a-Life Phenomenon and for the rationality of honoring “sunk” costs. (shrink)
Utilitarianism is the view according to which the only basic requirement of morality is to maximize net aggregate welfare. This position has implications for the ethics of creating and rearing children. Most discussions of these focus either on the ethics of procreation and in particular on how many and whom it is right to create , or on whether utilitarianism permits the kind of partiality that child rearing requires. Despite its importance to raising children, there are, by contrast, few (...) sustained discussions of the implications of utilitarian views of welfare for the matter of what makes a child’s life go well. This paper attempts to remedy this deficiency. It has four sections. Section one briefly outlines the purpose of a theory of welfare and its adequacy conditions. Section two evaluates what prominent utilitarian theories of welfare imply about what makes a child’s life go well. Section three provides a sketch of a view about what is prudentially valuable for children. Section four sums things up. (shrink)
This is a comprehensive anthology of works concerning the nature of economics as a science, including classic texts and essays exploring specific branches and schools of economics. Apart from the classics, most of the selections in the third edition are new, as are the introduction and bibliography. No other anthology spans the whole field and offers a comprehensive introduction to questions about economic methodology.
Utilitarianism, the ethical doctrine that holds in its most basic form that right actions are those that maximize pleasure and minimize pain, has been at the center of many of the ethical debates around animal welfare. The most well-known utilitarian of our time, Peter Singer, is widely credited with having sparked the animal welfare movement of the past 35+ years, using utilitarian reasoning to argue against using animals in invasive research that we aren’t willing to perform on humans. (...) Yet many people who have argued for the use of animals in invasive experimentation have also appealed to utilitarian ideas by claiming that insofar as lab animals suffer, the suffering is justified by greater benefits produced via the knowledge gained from research. In this paper, I will examine whether the classical utilitarian prescriptions “maximize pleasure” and “minimize pain” should be treated as equals by the theory and, if not, what the possible implications are for research involving nonhuman animals. -/- The idea that pain has a stronger influence than pleasure is accepted in much of the recent psychology literature on well-being. Some philosophers have also argued that minimizing suffering should play a more important role in ethical theorizing than maximizing pleasure. However, I will argue that neuroscience is uniquely positioned to provide definitive evidence that pleasure and pain are not merely two symmetrical poles of a single scale of experience, but in fact two different types of experiences altogether with dramatically different contributions to our wellbeing. I consider several different conceptions of symmetry, and argue that each is at odds with the most recent empirical results. (shrink)
This article challenges the view most recently expounded by Emily Jackson that ‘decisional privacy’ ought to be respected in the realm of artificial reproduction (AR). On this view, it is considered an unjust infringement of individual liberty for the state to interfere with individual or group freedom artificially to produce a child. It is our contention that a proper evaluation of AR and of the relevance of welfare will be sensitive not only to the rights of ‘commissioning parties’ to (...) AR but also to public policy considerations. We argue that AR has implications for the common good, by involving matters of human reproduction, kinship, race, parenthood and identity. In this paper we challenge presuppositions concerning decisional privacy. We examine the essential commodification of human life implicit in AR and the systematicity that makes this possible. We address the objection that it is an ethically neutral way of having children and consider the problem of ‘existential debt’. After examining objections to the thesis that AR is illegitimate for reasons of public policy and the common good, we return to the issue of decisional privacy in the light of considerations concerning the legitimate role of the state in matters affecting human reproduction. (shrink)
This paper argues that, in light of Dead Sea apple cases, we should reject desire-fulfillment welfare theories (DF theories). Dead Sea apples are apples that look attractive while hanging on the tree, but which dissolve into smoke or ashes once plucked. Accordingly, Dead Sea apple cases are cases where an agent desires something and then gets it, only to find herself disappointed by what she has gotten. This paper covers both actual DF theories and hypothetical (or idealized) DF theories. (...) On actual DF theories the agent’s well-being is determined by her actual desires, while on hypothetical DF theories the agent’s well-being is determined by the desires that she would have if she were fully and vividly informed with respect to non-evaluative information. Various actual and hypothetical DF theory responses to Dead Sea apple objections are considered, and all such responses are argued to be inadequate. (shrink)
The principal findings of experimental economics are that impersonal exchange in markets converges in repeated interaction to the equilibrium states implied by economic theory, under information conditions far weaker than specified in the theory. In personal, social, and economic exchange, as studied in two-person games, cooperation exceeds the prediction of traditional game theory. This book relates these two findings to field studies and applications and integrates them with the main themes of the Scottish Enlightenment and with the thoughts of (...) F. A. Hayek. (shrink)
There is an increasingly widespread belief, both within and outside the discipline, that modern economics is irrelevant to the understanding of the real world. Economics and Reality traces this irrelevance to the failure of economists to match their methods with their subject, showing that formal, mathematical models are unsuitable to the social realities economists purport to address. Tony Lawson examines the various ways in which mainstream economics is rooted in positivist philosophy and examines the problems this causes. (...) It focuses on human agency, social structure and their interaction and explores how the understanding of this social phenomena can be used to transform the nature of economic practice. Economics and Reality concludes by showing how this newly transformed economics might set about shaping economic policy. (shrink)
Economics today cannot predict the likely outcome of specific events any better than it could in the time of Adam Smith. This is Alexander Rosenberg's controversial challenge to the scientific status of economics. Rosenberg explains that the defining characteristic of any science is predictive improvability--the capacity to create more precise forecasts by evaluating the success of earlier predictions--and he forcefully argues that because economics has not been able to increase its predictive power for over two centuries, it (...) is not a science. (shrink)
Following a long-standing philosophical tradition, impartiality is a distinctive and determining feature of moral judgments, especially in matters of distributive justice. This broad ethical tradition was revived in welfareeconomics by Vickrey, and above all, Harsanyi, under the form of the so-called Impartial Observer Theorem. The paper offers an analytical reconstruction of this argument and a step-wise philosophical critique of its premisses. It eventually provides a new formal version of the theorem based on subjective probability.
Suppose that we agree that for questions of justice in a pluralistic society, we need a public standard of welfare. An appropriate public standard of welfare will have to meet the following two requirements. First, its conception of each person’s welfare should, to the greatest reasonable extent, be something that each person can recognise as encompassing the things she wants for herself and as giving these things weights that reflect the relative importance she gives to them. Second, (...) it should be sensitive to the fact that reasonable people hold conflicting conceptions of what constitutes an individual’s welfare. It should therefore, to the greatest reasonable extent, respect neutrality of judgement by refraining from endorsing any particular conception of welfare as superior to any other. In an influential set of essays, Richard Arneson (1990a, 1990b, 1990c) has argued that the following conception of welfare is ideally suited to these requirements: equate each individual’s welfare with the degree of satisfaction of her ideally rational, self-regarding preferences. These are the preferences she would have on behalf of herself if she were to engage in ideally extended deliberation with full pertinent information, in a calm mood, while thinking clearly and making no reasoning errors (see Arneson 1990a, pp. 162-163). (For simplicity, in what follows, I will use the term ‘preferences’, to refer to these ideally rational, self-regarding preferences.) Arneson argues that this standard of welfare meets the two aforementioned requirements in the best way possible. It meets the first requirement, he argues, because it comes as close as. (shrink)
Many economic problems are also ethical problems: should we value economic equality? how much should we care about preserving the environment? how should medical resources be divided between saving life and enhancing life? This book examines some of the practical issues that lie between economics and ethics, and shows how utility theory can contribute to ethics. John Broome's work has, unusually, combined sophisticated economic and philosophical expertise, and Ethics Out of Economics brings together some of his most important (...) essays, augmented with a new introduction. The first group of essays deals with the relation between preference and value, the second with various questions about the formal structure of good, and the concluding section with the value of life. This work is of interest and importance for both economists and philosophers, and shows powerfully how economic methods can contribute to moral philosophy. (shrink)
This is a comprehensive anthology of works concerning the nature of economics as a science, including classic texts and essays exploring specific branches and schools of economics. Apart from the classics, most of the selections in the third edition are new, as are the introduction and bibliography. No other anthology spans the whole field and offers a comprehensive introduction to questions about economic methodology.
Focus of animal welfare -- Agricultural sciences and animal welfare : crop production and animal production -- Veterinary science and animal welfare -- Genetics, biotechnology, and breeding : mixed blessings -- Animal welfare, grading compromise, and mitigating suffering -- Standardised behavioural testing in non-verbal humans and other animals -- Human-animal interactions and animal welfare -- Environmental enrichment : studying the nature of nurture -- Societal contexts of animal welfare -- Integrated perspectives : sleep, developmental (...) stage, and animal welfare -- The wider context of animal welfare science. (shrink)
The term neoclassical economics delineates a distinct and relatively homogenous school of thought in economic theory that became prominent in the late nineteenth century and that now dominates mainstream economics. The term was originally introduced by Thorstein Veblen to describe developments in the discipline (of which Veblen did not entirely approve) associated with the work of such figures as William Jevons, Carl Menger, and Leon Walras. The ambition of these figures, the first neoclassicists, was to formalize and mathematize (...) the subject in the aftermath of the so-called marginalist revolution. Economics is, according to one definition, the science that studies human behavior as a relationship between ends and scarce means that have alternative uses. Neoclassical economics pursues this study by means of supply and demand models that determine prices based on the subjective preferences of producers and consumers. Neoclassical economics relies on subjective preferences for determining prices in order to escape from the so-called objective value theory of classical economics, according to which the value of goods could be established by reference to some basic commodity (usually corn) or the labor input required to produce a good. Neoclassicists hoped that by jettisoning objective value, economics could be placed on a more scientific basis as an essentially descriptive and predictive theory of human behavior. Political theory, by contrast, involves both positive and normative elements. It is a positive science to the extent to which it aims to describe and predict political behavior. It is a normative science to the extent to which it prescribes how agents should behave in the political arena and what the best political institutions are. Neoclassical economics is relevant to both of these elements. (shrink)
Feminist economists have demonstrated that interrogating hierarchies based on gender, ethnicity, class and nation results in an economics that is biased and more faithful to empirical evidence than are mainstream accounts. This rigorous and comprehensive book examines many of the central philosophical questions and themes in feminist economics including: · History of economics · Feminist science studies · Identity and agency · Caring labor · Postcolonialism and postmodernism With contributions from such leading figures as Nancy Folbre, Julie (...) Nelson and Sandra Harding, Toward a Feminist Theory of Economics looks set to become the book on feminist economics for some time to come and will be greatly appreciated by all those interested in gender studies, economic methodology and social theory. (shrink)
The primary aim of the text is to introduce the reader to the relationship between economics and ethics and to the application of economic ethics in the evaluation of the market. The reader will gain insight into: * The ethical and methodological strategy of economics and criticism of the core assumptions that underpin the economic defense of free market operation. * The characteristics of different ethical theories (utilitarianism, duty and rights ethics, justice and virtue ethics) that can be (...) used to evaluate the free market. * How to apply economics in conjunction with ethical theories to evaluate economic trends and policies that promote the free operation of the market and are subject to public debate. These insights will help to develop the reasoning and analytical skills needed to criticize economic analysis as well as to apply ethical concepts to moral issues in economic policy. (shrink)
Introduction: Facts and values -- Challenge and response -- Sentience, sense, and suffering -- Husbandry and welfare on the farm : assessment and assurance -- Animals for food : industrialised farming, pigs, and poultry -- Animals for food : cattle and other ruminants -- Animals for food : handling, transport, and slaughter -- Animals, science, and biotechnology -- Animals for sport -- Animals for pets -- Limping towards Eden : stepping stones.
Introduction : ethical economics? -- The sovereign consumer -- Two myths about economic growth -- The politics of pay -- Happiness -- Pricing life and nature -- New worlds of money : public services and beyond -- Conclusion.
Deirdre McCloskey is rightly one of the most recognizable names in economics. She views economics as a language that uses all the rhetorical devices of everyday conversation and therefore it should be judged by aesthetic and literary standards and not the criteria of mathematical rigor that is espoused by the mainstream. This controversial standpoint has been hugely influential and this examination of the methodological and philosophical consequences of her work is overdue, and very welcome.
`I would encourage undergraduates students to read it, for it does summarise well a classical Marxist analysis of social policy and welfare' - Social Policy The anti-capitalist movement is increasingly challenging the global hegemony of neo-liberalism. The arguments against the neo-liberal agenda are clearly articulated in Rethinking Welfare. The authors highlight the growing inequalities and decimation of state welfare, and use Marxist approaches to contemporary social policy to provide a defence of the welfare state. Divided into (...) three main sections, the first part of this volume looks at the growth of inequality, and social and environmental degradation. Part Two centres on the authors' argument for the relevance of core Marxists concepts in aiding our understanding of social policy. This section includes Marxist approaches to a range of welfare issues, and their implications for studying welfare regimes and practices. Issues covered include: · Class and class struggle · Opression · Alienation and the family The last part of the book explores the question of globalization and the consequences of international neo-liberalism on indebted countries as well as the neo-liberal agenda of the Conservative and New Labour governments in Britain. The authors conclude with the prospect of an alternative welfare future which may form part of the challenge against global neo-liberalism. (shrink)
The focus here is Robert L. Heilbroner's critique, in the last chapter of the 7th edition of The Worldly Philosophers, of the idea that economics is, or should be, scientific. Heilbroner's conception of economics as essentially tied to capitalism is too narrow, and at odds with his own commentary on the rise of pauperism after the English common-land enclosures; and his critique of contemporary economics-as-social science is overdrawn. Nevertheless, there is indeed an important role for the “visionary” (...)economics for which Heilbroner hankers: assessing the benefits and drawbacks of different ways of ordering the production and distribution of goods and services. (shrink)
This paper explores citizens’ views about the welfare of farmed fish and the mental abilities of fish with a large survey data sample from Finland (n = 1,890). Although studies on attitudes towards animal welfare have been increasing, fish welfare has received only limited empirical attention, despite the rapid expansion of aquaculture sector. The results show that the welfare of farmed fish is not any great concern in the Finnish society. The analysis confirms the distinct character (...) given to farmed fish compared to traditional farmed animals. Salmon are rated low in their mental abilities, including the capacity to feel pain, which may weaken ethical concerns for fish welfare. When analyzing the social determinants surrounding the rating of the welfare of farmed fish, it was shown that fish welfare attitudes follow general animal welfare attitudes regarding age and place of residence as fish welfare tends to be rated more negatively among younger age groups and among urban residents. However, no clear connection could be identified between gender and the rating of fish welfare, which may suggest that the distinct cultural categorization of fish diminishes the typical gender difference identified in animal attitudes. It is concluded that in order to improve awareness about fish welfare, there is a need to increase dissemination of scientific knowledge about fish and their welfare. Moreover, further research should be directed toward studying the moral positioning of fish and the distinct moral categorization they receive. (shrink)
There is a growing perception among economists that their field is becoming increasingly irrelevant due to its disregard for reality. Critical realism addresses the failure of mainstream economics to explain economic reality and proposes an alternative approach. This book debates the relative strengths and weaknesses of critical realism, in the hopes of developing a more fruitful and relevant socio-economic ontology and methodology. With contributions from some of the leading authorities in economic philosophy, it includes the work of theorists critical (...) of this approach. In the first part, contributors develop and deepen economics as a realist social theory by considering the work of individuals, various schools of thought, socio- economic phenomena and methodology. In the second part, contributors weigh the strengths and weaknesses of critical realism. (shrink)
This intriguing new book examines and analyses the role of critical realism in economics and specifically how this line of thought can be applied to the real world. With contributions from such varying commentators as Sheila Dow, Wendy Olsen and Fred Lee, this new book is unique in its approach and will be of great interest to both economic methodologists and those involved in applied economic studies.
This paper develops an account of evolutionary progress for use in the field of evolutionary economics. Previous work is surveyed and a new account set out, based on the idea of evolvability as it has been used recently in evolutionary developmental biology. The biological underpinnings of this idea are explained using examples of a series of phenomena that influence the evolvability of biological systems. It is further argued that selection pressures and developmental processes are sufficiently similar to make this (...) biological concept useful in economics. The new account is defended against a number of common objections to the notion of progress in evolving systems, including the claim that all stipulated measures of evolutionary progress are essentially arbitrary. It is argued that progress, understood as an increase in evolvability over time, is both philosophically well-justified and provides useful predictive and explanatory resources to those seeking to understand and manipulate evolving economic systems. (shrink)
This essay argues that the concept of dependence now invoked in noramtive discussions of the welfare state is both incoherent and biased as a result of its conflation of four distinctly different notions of dependence, ranging from the purely causal to that associated with lower class identities.
In Ethics, Economics, and Politics Ian Little returns to offer a new defence of a rule-based utilitarianism as a basis for assessing the role of the State. Lucidly and elegantly he explains how the three disiplines of philosophy, economics and politics can be integrated to provide guidance on issues of public policy.