The Economy of Esteem: An Essay on Civil and Political Society
AbstractHowever much people want esteem, it is an untradable commodity: there is no way that I can buy the good opinion of another or sell to others my good opinion of them. But though it is a non-tradable good, esteem is allocated in society according to systematic determinants; people's performance, publicity, and presentation relative to others will help to fix how much esteem they enjoy and how much disesteem they avoid. The fact that it is subject to such determinants means in turn that rational individuals are bound to compete with one another, however tacitly, in the attempt to control those influences, increasing their chances of winning esteem and avoiding disesteem. And the fact that they all compete for esteem in this way shapes the environment in which they each pursue the good, setting relevant comparators and benchmarks, and determining the cost that a person must bear -- the price that they must pay -- for obtaining a given level of esteem in any domain of activity. Hidden in the multifarious interactions and exchanges of social life, then, there is a quiet force at work -- a force as silent and powerful as gravity -- which moulds the basic form of people's relationships and associations. This force was more or less routinely invoked in the writings of classical theorists like Aristotle and Plato, Locke and Montesquieu, Mandeville and Hume and Madison. Sometimes it was invoked to explain why people behaved as they did, sometimes to identify initiatives whereby they might be persuaded to behave better. Although Adam Smith himself gave it great credence, however, the rise of economics proper coincided with a sudden decline in the attention devoted to the economy of esteem. What had been a topic of compelling interest for earlier authors fell into relative neglect throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This book is designed to reverse the trend. It begins by outlining the psychology of esteem and the way the working of that psychology can give rise to an economy. It then shows how a variety of social patterns that are otherwise anomalous come to make a lot of sense within an economics of esteem. And it looks, finally, at the ways in which the economy of esteem may be reshaped so as to make for an improvement -- by reference to received criteria - in overall social outcomes. While making connections with older patterns of social theorising, it offers a novel orientation for contemporary thought about how society works and how it may be made to work. It puts the economy of esteem firmly on the agenda of economic and social science and of moral and political theory. Available in OSO: http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/oso/public/content/economicsfinance/0199246483/toc.html
Download InfoTo our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
1. Check below under "Related research" whether another version of this item is available online.
2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.
Bibliographic InfoThis book is provided by Oxford University Press in its series OUP Catalogue with number 9780199246489 and published in 2004.
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.oup.com/
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Ruth Grant, 2008. "Passions and interests revisited: the psychological foundations of economics and politics," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 137(3), pages 451-461, December.
- Edward Cartwright & Amrish Patel, 2010.
"Public Goods, Social Norms, and Naïve Beliefs,"
Journal of Public Economic Theory,
Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 12(2), pages 199-223, 04.
- Mo, Pak Hung, 2012. "Rational Democracy:A Political System for Universal Interest," MPRA Paper 35819, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Bruno S. Frey, 2010. "Geld oder Anerkennung? Zur Ökonomik der Auszeichnungen," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 11(1), pages 1-15, 02.
- Bruno S. Frey, 2009.
"Punishment – and beyond,"
IEW - Working Papers
418, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Midjord, Rune & Rodríguez Barraquer, Tomás & Valasek, Justin, 2013. "Over-caution of large committees of experts," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change SP II 2013-313, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
- Geoffrey Brennan & Michael Brooks, 2007. "Esteem-based contributions and optimality in public goods supply," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 130(3), pages 457-470, March.
- Brennan, Geoffrey & Brooks, Michael, 2011. "On the ‘cashing out’ hypothesis and ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ policies," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 601-610.
- repec:eui:euidis:urn:hdl:1814/12719 is not listed on IDEAS
- Skarbek, David, 2012. "Prison gangs, norms, and organizations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 96-109.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Economics Book Marketing).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.