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Ethics, politics, and Nonsatiation in Consumption: A Synthesis

  • João Rogério Sanson

    (Federal University of Santa Catarina)

In contrast with the production of goods and services by firms, where the production costs are minimized under appropriate behavioral assumptions, consumer-producers in neoclassical theory maximize 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 minimized. We propose that we keep consumer theory as a reasonable description of reality.However,we should evaluate the long run consequences of such postulated behavior in a larger context,which, as a consequence of larger population with increasing per capita consumption, comprises the overburdening of natural resources. By decomposing the time horizon of cultural evolution into shorter periods of adjustment, we may then distinguish several types of institutional determination of how societies take decisions, as a group and individually. The consumer theory simply reflects the predominant ethical values, of which ideologies, political platforms, and demand patterns are shorter run adjustments.

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Article provided by ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics] in its journal Economia.

Volume (Year): 8 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 1–20

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Handle: RePEc:anp:econom:v:8:y:2007:i:1:p:1-20
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