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The Economic Problem of Happiness: Keynes on Happiness and Economics

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  • Anna Carabelli
  • Mario Cedrini

Abstract

By stressing the substantial continuity of vision between John Maynard Keynes’s early unpublished essays and his more mature writings, the paper discusses Keynes’s ethics and focuses on his thoughts about happiness. In particular, we emphasize the anti-utilitarianism of Keynes’s vision and his belief that material wealth is but a precondition to enjoy the possibilities of a good life, and direct attention to problems of incommensurability raised by the multidimensional nature of happiness as considered by Keynes. We then argue that the rediscovery of Keynes’s legacy in this respect may be a precious counterweight to the most controversial aspects of today’s happiness research.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s12143-010-9085-2
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Forum for Social Economics.

Volume (Year): 40 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (January)
Pages: 335-359

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Handle: RePEc:taf:fosoec:v:40:y:2011:i:3:p:335-359

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References

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  1. Marchionatti Roberto, 2009. "J. M. Keynes, thinker of economic complexity," CESMEP Working Papers 200902, University of Turin.
  2. Yew-Kwang, Ng, 1997. "A case for Happiness, Cardinalism, and Interpersonal Comparability," Departmental Working Papers _081, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Department of Economics.
  3. Anna Carabelli & Nicolo De Vecchi, 1999. "'Where to draw the line'? Keynes versus Hayek on Knowledge, ethics and economics," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(2), pages 271-296.
  4. Hosseini, Hamid, 2003. "The arrival of behavioral economics: from Michigan, or the Carnegie School in the 1950s and the early 1960s?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 391-409, September.
  5. Cedrini Mario, 2006. "Keynes, l'arte, lo stato: il paradiso ritrovato e poi perduto," CESMEP Working Papers 200601, University of Turin.
  6. Dolan, Paul & Peasgood, Tessa & White, Mathew, 2008. "Do we really know what makes us happy A review of the economic literature on the factors associated with subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 94-122, February.
  7. Jon Wisman, 2003. "The Scope and Promising Future of Social Economics," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 61(4), pages 425-445.
  8. Anna M. Carabelli & Mario A. Cedrini, 2010. "“Veiling The Controversies with Dubious Moral Attitudes”? Creditors and Debtors in Keynes’s Ethics of International Economic Relations," Working Papers 127, SEMEQ Department - Faculty of Economics - University of Eastern Piedmont.
  9. Lee E. Ohanian, 2008. "Back to the future with Keynes," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Jul, pages 10-16.
  10. Goodwin, Craufurd D., 2000. "Economic Man in the Garden of Eden," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(04), pages 405-432, December.
  11. Roger Backhouse & Bradley Bateman, 2006. "John Maynard Keynes: Artist, Philosopher, Economist," Atlantic Economic Journal, International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 34(2), pages 149-159, June.
  12. Kahneman, Daniel & Wakker, Peter P & Sarin, Rakesh, 1997. "Back to Bentham? Explorations of Experienced Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 375-405, May.
  13. Barry Gordon, 2005. "Aristotle and Hesiod: The economic problem in Greek thought," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 63(3), pages 395-404.
  14. Barrotta, Pierluigi, 2008. "Why Economists Should Be Unhappy With The Economics Of Happiness," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(02), pages 145-165, July.
  15. D. E. Moggridge, 2005. "Keynes, the Arts, and the State," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 37(3), pages 535-555, Fall.
  16. Mario A. Cedrini, 2008. "Fighting Through Britain. The “Gift Dimension” of Keynes's Quest for a New Global Order," Working Papers 119, SEMEQ Department - Faculty of Economics - University of Eastern Piedmont.
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Cited by:
  1. Anna M. Carabelli & Mario A. Cedrini, 2010. "“Veiling The Controversies with Dubious Moral Attitudes”? Creditors and Debtors in Keynes’s Ethics of International Economic Relations," Working Papers 127, SEMEQ Department - Faculty of Economics - University of Eastern Piedmont.
  2. Anna M. Carabelli & Mario A. Cedrini, 2009. "Indian Currency and Beyond. The Legacy of the Early Economics of Keynes in the Times of Bretton Woods II," Working Papers 121, SEMEQ Department - Faculty of Economics - University of Eastern Piedmont.

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