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Ethics, Politics, And Nonsatiation In Consumption: A Synthesis

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  • João Rogério Sanson

Abstract

In contrast with the production of goods and services by firms, where the production costs are minimized under appropriate behavioral assumptions, consumer- producers have as objective the maximization of consumption expenditure, i.e., production costs of their outputs. According to Kenneth Boulding, were the impact upon the limited resources available on planet Earth taken into account, consumption expenditure should be something to be minimized. Thus, either we abandon consumer theory, as we know it, or we keep it as a reasonable description of reality. Then we should evaluate the long run consequences of such behavior in a larger context, which, as the consequence of larger population with increasing per capita consumption, comprises the overburdening of natural resources. When we decompose the time horizon of cultural evolution into shorter periods of adjustment, we may distinguish several types of institutional determination of how societies take decisions, as a group and individually. The postulate of maximizing consumption is reasonable for an aggregate approach. It simply reflects the predominant ethical values, of which ideologies, political platforms, and demand patterns are shorter run adjustments.

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Paper provided by ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics] in its series Anais do XXXIII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 33th Brazilian Economics Meeting] with number 136.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:anp:en2005:136

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