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If Michael Sandel ruled the world …

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… he would rewrite the economics textbooks. Excerpt:

If market values sometimes crowd out attitudes and values worth caring about (such as the love of learning for its own sake), then market reasoning must answer to moral reasoning. Standard economic models assume that markets are inert, that they do not touch or taint the goods they exchange. But if buying and selling certain goods changes their meaning, then the case for markets cannot rest on efficiency considerations alone. It must also rest on a moral argument about how to value the goods in question.

Read the rest here.

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2 Comments

  1. Sandi says:

    Is “Mike the economist” still kicking around on here?? I would be interested in his response the this…

    Like

  2. Sandi says:

    I like what Aristotle has to say about utility in his Metaphysics…”In the beginning, a man who invented any art that went outside the ordinary range of the senses was naturally admired by other men, not only because some of his inventions were useful but because they considered him wise and superior to the rest. But as more arts were invented–some to help in securing the necessities of life and others for men’s enjoyment–the inventors of the latter were always regarded as wiser than the inventors of of the former, because their branches of knowledge did not aim at mere utility. Then [and only then] when all inventions of this kind had been acheived, the sciences that aim NEITHER AT GIVING PLEASURE NOR AT SERVING NECESSITY WERE DISCOVERED…[thus] the man of experience is considered wiser than those who know only sensations of whatever kind, and the artist wiser than the man of experience, the master than the handworker and THE THEORETICAL SCIENCE THAN THE PRACTICAL. Patently then wisdom is knowledge of principles and causes…That this is NOT A SCIENCE FOR PRODUCING THINGS is plain from the story of the earliest philosophers. For it was wonder that made men first start to philosophize and still makes them today, wondering originally about about the problems close at hand and then little by little advancing to strain their minds over the greatest perplexities…to understand and NOT FOR ANY PRACTICAL USE TO WHICH THEY MIGHT PUT IT…for it was not until after almost everything necessary for life, comfort, and recreation had been provided that this kind of knowledge began to be sought. Manifestly then we seek this knowledge for no utilitarian end but, even as we call a man free who lives for his own sake and not for another’s, so we call this the only free science, for IT ALONE EXISTS FOR ITSELF.”

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