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The market, utilitarianism and the corruption argument

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  • Mozaffar Qizilbash

    () (University of York)

Abstract

Some philosophers argue that if market reasoning exceeds certain limits, it may ‘corrupt’ certain cherished values; and the tendency of modern economics to encourage such ‘corruption’ has its roots in its normative foundations. Michael Sandel goes further and suggests that this tendency can be traced to utilitarian reasoning. I argue that the desire to restrict the scope of economics can be found in the utilitarian origins of neoclassical economics. The argument that market reasoning may ‘corrupt’ various values has gained credence from the work of market enthusiasts like Gary Becker but does not apply to the traditional framework of welfare economics. Furthermore, if economists adopt the informed desire or preference view of welfare endorsed by some utilitarians, certain arguments advanced by these philosophers can be rebutted.

Suggested Citation

  • Mozaffar Qizilbash, 2019. "The market, utilitarianism and the corruption argument," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 66(1), pages 37-55, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:inrvec:v:66:y:2019:i:1:d:10.1007_s12232-018-0302-2
    DOI: 10.1007/s12232-018-0302-2
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robert Sugden, 2004. "The Opportunity Criterion: Consumer Sovereignty Without the Assumption of Coherent Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1014-1033, September.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Market; Welfare economics; Utilitarianism; Preferences; Information;

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • B13 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Neoclassical through 1925 (Austrian, Marshallian, Walrasian, Wicksellian)
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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