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A Warrant for Pain: Caveat Emptor vs. the Duty of Care in American Medicine, c. 1970-2010

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  • Avner Offer

    ()
    (All Souls College, University of Oxford)

Abstract

Bad ethics can make for bad economic outcomes. Bad ethics are defined hedonically as the infliction of pain on others for private advantage. The infliction of pain is often justified by ‘Just World Theories’, which state that everyone gets what they deserve. Market liberalism (and its theoretical underpinning in neoclassical economics) is one theory of this kind. As an example, the micro and macro underperformance of the American health system c. 1970-2010 is explained in terms of the shift in policy norms from the fiduciary norm "first do no harm" to the neo-liberal market norm of "let the buyer beware" (caveat emptor) since the 1970s.

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Paper provided by Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford in its series Oxford University Economic and Social History Series with number _102.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 10 Aug 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nuf:esohwp:_102

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Web page: http://www.nuff.ox.ac.uk/economics/

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  1. Avner Offer, 2012. "Self-interest, Sympathy and the Invisible Hand: From Adam Smith to Market Liberalism," Economics Series Working Papers Number 101, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Avner Offer & Rachel Pechey and Stanley Ulijaszek, 2010. "Obesity under affluence varies by welfare regimes: The effect of fast food, insecurity, and inequality," Economics Series Working Papers Number 82, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  3. Offer, Avner, 2007. "The Challenge of Affluence: Self-Control and Well-Being in the United States and Britain since 1950," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199216628, October.
  4. Goodall, Amanda H., 2011. "Physician-leaders and hospital performance: Is there an association?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(4), pages 535-539, August.
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