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Sympathy, evolution, and The Economist

Listed author(s):
  • Levy, David M.
  • Peart, Sandra J.

Why did the classical economists' doctrine of innate human sociability and the problem of factions disappear? The social Darwinists who clustered around The Economist regarded sympathy, the social glue of small groups, as an impediment to racial perfection that allowed the "unfit" to survive. Classical political economists responded to the problem of factions by proposing that sympathetic concerns be extended to those outside the faction. Social Darwinists advocated narrowing sympathetic concerns. Although social Darwinism faded, sympathy was not returned to its early prominence and economists lost the ability to explain small group formation and the tyranny of the minority.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 71 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (July)
Pages: 29-36

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:71:y:2009:i:1:p:29-36
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  1. David Levy & Sandra Peart, 2006. "Charles Kingsley and the Theological Interpretation of Natural Selection," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 197-218, December.
  2. Peart, Sandra J. & Levy, David M., 2008. "Darwin's unpublished letter at the Bradlaugh-Besant trial: A question of divided expert judgment," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 343-353, June.
  3. Frank H. Knight, 1922. "Ethics and the Economic Interpretation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(3), pages 454-481.
  4. Knight, Frank H., 1922. "Ethics and the Economic Interpretation," History of Economic Thought Articles, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, vol. 36, pages 454-481, May.
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