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Criticism of the ethical foundations of neoclassical theory in the Amartya Sen proposal of the social welfare


  • German Darío Valencia Agudelo
  • John Faber Cuervo


This article tries to explain the main criticism that the recent Nobel Price in Economics, Amartya Sen, has made to the ethic and methodological basis of utilitarian theories in economics. In the first parte of the work the concepts which laid the foundations to the neoclassic welfare theories are outlined, going from the utilitarian school to the present ruling theory in the world, the neoclassic one. It begins with Mandeville until Pareto, going through Smith, Bentham, Mill and Edgeworth, who laid the basis to neoclassic assumptions. The second part summarizes criticisms that important contemporary economists and philosophers have made too the theory of individual welfare emphasizing those from Amartya Sen.

Suggested Citation

  • German Darío Valencia Agudelo & John Faber Cuervo, 1999. "Criticism of the ethical foundations of neoclassical theory in the Amartya Sen proposal of the social welfare," Grupo Microeconomía Aplicada 015, Universidad de Antioquia, Departamento de Economía.
  • Handle: RePEc:lde:grupom:015

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