From Pleasure Machines to Moral Communities: An Evolutionary Economics without Homo economicus

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M., Hodgson, Geoffrey. 2012. From Pleasure Machines to Moral Communities: An Evolutionary Economics without Homo economicus. University of Chicago Press.

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Description

"Are humans at their core seekers of their own pleasure or cooperative members of society? Paradoxically, they are both. Pleasure-seeking can take place only within the context of what works within a defined community, and central to any community are the evolved codes and principles guiding appropriate behavior, or morality." "The picture of utility-maximizing agents—in both self-regarding and other-regarding versions—should also be replaced by a richer, multidimensional, and developmental version of the individ- ual, which includes biologically grounded and culturally enhanced moral motivations. The importance of deep-rooted ethical motivations and values—including sympathy and respect for authority—are illustrated in several contexts. The individual is not taken as given, but situated within an interactive social context that enables her education and development."

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Quotations

Given the absurdity of restricting the study and definition of corruption to the public sector, one may ask why so many social scientists define it in these limited terms... One possible reason for their bias is the widespread influence of pro-market, antistate, libertarian ideology. A primary ideological target is the allegedly systemic abuse of power by politicians. The misuse of power by directors of large corporations— several of which are as big as some national states—does not raise the same level of concern among leading libertarian thinkers. According to this thinking, most voluntary contracts between consenting adults are moral and legitimate, as long as they do not harm others. Ignoring the negative externalities of corruption, libertarians further argue that bribery and other forms of malpractice in the private sphere have potential benefits and are expressions of entrepreneurial activity.
Geoffrey Hodgson, "From Pleasure Machines to Moral Communities: An Evolutionary Economics without Homo economicusFrom Pleasure Machines to Moral Communities: An Evolutionary Economics without Homo economicus", p. 157.
There is an alternative view of the state and law [...] found within the German historical school, the original American institutional economics, parts of the new institutional economics, and elsewhere. The basic proposition is that the state provides an essential social and legal scaffolding for all private enterprise. Consider property rights. Individual property is not mere individual possession; it involves socially acknowledged and enforced rights. Individual property is not simply a relation between an individual and an object. It requires some kind of customary, legal, and moral apparatus of recognition, adjudication and enforcement. Similar considerations apply to the market: rather than the mere ether of individual interaction, markets are social institutions. Most of them are structured in part by statutory rules.
Geoffrey Hodgson, "From Pleasure Machines to Moral Communities: An Evolutionary Economics without Homo economicusFrom Pleasure Machines to Moral Communities: An Evolutionary Economics without Homo economicus", pp. 158-9.