Value Creation as the Foundation of Economics

In L. Zsolnai (ed.), Ethical Prospects. pp. 63-87 (2009)
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The argument of this paper, written by an ethicist and a philosopher, is that self-interest economics is fundamentally flawed and needs to be replaced by a spiritual economics or a value based economics. Its argument contains two interwoven threads. One thread is an attempt to show why the fundamental philosophical notions of Adam Smith, taken as an illustration of self-interest economics, cannot lead to an equitable society. Smith’s Wealth of Nations, according to Jacob Viner, ‘ became a significant factor in determining the course of national policy not only in Britain but in other countries as well. This is much more than any other economic work has ever achieved; and Smith probably has had much more influence than any other economist.’ One wonders if it is Smith that Keynes had in mind when he famously quipped that all of us are slaves of some defunct economist. This despite Schumpeter’s trumpeted dictum that ‘the Wealth of Nationsdoes not contain a single analyticidea, principle or method that was entirely new in 1776.’



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