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Sympathy, evolution, and The Economist


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  • Levy, David M.
  • Peart, Sandra J.


Why did the classical economists' doctrine of innate human sociability and the problem of factions disappear? The social Darwinists who clustered around The Economist regarded sympathy, the social glue of small groups, as an impediment to racial perfection that allowed the "unfit" to survive. Classical political economists responded to the problem of factions by proposing that sympathetic concerns be extended to those outside the faction. Social Darwinists advocated narrowing sympathetic concerns. Although social Darwinism faded, sympathy was not returned to its early prominence and economists lost the ability to explain small group formation and the tyranny of the minority.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 71 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (July)
Pages: 29-36

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:71:y:2009:i:1:p:29-36

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Keywords: Sympathy Faction Spencer Bagehot Hayek Social Darwinist Tyranny of the minority;


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Cited by:
  1. Robert Garnett, 2011. "Schools of Thought in the Republic of Social Science," Working Papers, Texas Christian University, Department of Economics 201108, Texas Christian University, Department of Economics.
  2. Andrés Álvarez & Jimena Hurtado, 2012. "Out of sight, out of mind: Modern economics, social interactions, and Smith´s sympathy," DOCUMENTOS CEDE, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE 009312, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.


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