J.S. Mill on Justice and Utility

In ch. 5 of Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill argues to ground justice in utility. For Mill, the essence of justice is a “right residing in an individual” (59.) To possess a right is to have a valid claim on society … Read More

Two Modes of Market Envy

Updated July 13, 2013: on reflection I changed what I originally called “productive” envy to “competitive” envy for Aquinas’s fourth sense.  I think this better captures the interpersonal sense of true envy. At the Acton University a couple of weeks … Read More

Economic Reflections 10: Communitarianism and Fairness Arguments

In “Psychology and Markets,” (Rationality in Economics,) Vernon Smith summarized variations in experiments with upside and downside risk from standard economic theory, which is based on the hypothesis that agents have a “self-aware, calculating process of maximization” (157.)  While the … Read More

Economic Reflections 9: Market Anarchy and Defense

Discussing private defense in Chaos Theory, Robert Murphy argued that the market is capable of providing superior and cheaper defense that a State. I agree that a private defense firm would not pay $600 for a toilet seat. However, I … Read More

Economic Reflections 6: Social Goods and Death Markets

Charles Taylor, in an essay “Irreducibly Social Goods,” argued for the existence of social goods that cannot be reduced to individual utility or welfare. His argument is that certain goods—e.g., frank and open relationships, self-giving heroism, friendship—cannot exist except in … Read More

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 13