A Note on the Principle of "Normative Individualism"
According to the principle of Normative Individualism, the evaluation of economic states and processes should be guided exclusively by the wishes of the individuals who are seen as the only bearer of values. Despite its intuitive appeal and its almost universal acceptance in normative economics (i.e., Welfare Economics as well as Constitutional Economics), the principle itself has received only scarce, mostly skeptical attention in the literature. It has even less been discussed from an explicitly evolutionary perspective on human preference formation processes. It is argued that it may be made compatible with such a perspective if it is transformed into a concept of "developmental individualism" that encompasses three sets of criteria, viz. preference-based, opportunity-based and distributive justice criteria.
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