Economics and Human Flourishing in Historical Perspective
Routledge – 2009 – 188 pages
Economists have long laboured under the misapprehension that all humans exist as rational beings that find happiness in maximizing their personal utility. This impressive volume presents an historical review of the evolution of economic thought, from economic philosophy to contemporary mathematical economics, and its critique of how the human and social dimensions of economics have been lost in this evolutionary process.
Examining the crucial period in the late eighteenth century when economists such Smith and Genovesi tried to reconcile the classical tradition of Civil humanism emerging commercial society, this key book analyses the impact that the hedonist approach to economics had in removing the ethical conception of happiness. In addition, it focuses on the impact that J.S. Mill, Wicksteed and Pareto had in shifting methodological thinking away from an emphasis on civil happiness. Simply put, this book is essential reading for economists everywhere.
Introduction and Summary. Acknowledgements. Part 1: Happiness, Again 1. The Easterlin Paradox 2. Happiness and More 3. What is Happiness? Part 2: The Explanations of the Easterlin Paradox 1. Hedonic Treadmill and Set-Point Theory 2. Satisfaction Treadmill 3. The ‘social treadmill’ Part 3: From the ‘Civil’ to the ‘Uncivil’ Animal 1. Aristotle’s Eudaimonia 2. Civic Humanism 3. The Sunset of the Civil 4. The ‘Uncivil Animal’ Tradition Part 4: Public Happiness 1. Towards a New Foundation of Civil life 2. Della Pubblica Felicità 3. Between Tradition and Modernity Part 5: Genovesi, and the Neapolitan School of Civil Economy 1. The Bright Lights of Naples 2. Civil Virtues, Public Happiness 3. On the Other Hand: Private Interests and Common Good in Civil Economy Tradition 4. Economia Civile and Fede Pubblica Part 6: Happiness as Reciprocity 1. A Relational Anthropology 2. More than Sociality: Reciprocity 3. Wealth and Happiness 4. The Happiness of Others 5. A Short Evaluation Part 7: Adam Smith: Sociality Outside Market 1. Market and Civil Society 2. Trust as Reputation 3. Happiness as Deception 4. Which Sociality in Market? Part 8: The Cambridge Civil Tradition 1. Malthus on Happiness and Sociality 2. Marshall, the ‘Good Economic Science’ 3. Analogies and Differences Part 9: Happiness Becomes Pleasure 1. The English Happiness 2. John Stuart Mill 3. Bentham’s Hedonic Happiness 4. The (Anti)Classical Hedonist Economics Part 10: 1. Pareto and Wicksteed: The Definitive Divorce Between Economics and Civil Happiness 2. Wicksteed’s Non-Tuism Part 11: Happiness and Relational Good. References