Download e-book for iPad: A Critique of Welfare Economics by I. M. D. Little

By I. M. D. Little

ISBN-10: 0195664647

ISBN-13: 9780195664645

ISBN-10: 0198281196

ISBN-13: 9780198281191

First released in 1950, this publication was once all for the exposition, feedback, and appreciation of the idea of monetary welfare because it were constructed to that date. Now reissued, Little has further a brand new retrospective preface within which he assesses the contribution the publication made within the gentle of next literature within the sector.

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Sample text

But to say this is a considerable disadvantage for welfare economics, for it leads inevitably to interpreting more 'utility' as more satisfaction, or happiness: in so doing the economist merely makes himself seem silly, for nothing is clearer than that there is far from being a perfect link between utility in the above sense, and satisfaction or happiness. It has become clear that we should first discover what rules of behaviour are implied by the ordinal utility analysis: and then find a better interpretation of 'more utility' than more satisfaction.

We thus prefer not to assume that a person's choices can necessarily be described by a utility function: but, on the other hand, see p. 28, note i. THE A N A L Y S I S OF C O N S U M E R S ' B E H A V I O U R 25 between every pair of alternatives is what we shall in general mean by consistency of choice. As we shall see, consistency alone is not sufficient to determine the conventional sets of curves, which have other properties besides not crossing. Let us, however, ignore this for the moment, in order to investigate the meaning which now attaches to our maximization postulate.

Now, we may ask, what would be the interpretation of 'utility' if we sought to reapply the pure Marshallian analysis ? The answer is that 'utility' must be taken to refer to satisfaction, or anticipated satisfaction. We thus see how the word 'utility' has changed its meaning. To put it metaphorically, utility was once thought of as a kind of reflection of satisfaction in the external world, a power in objects to cause satisfaction, but later it came to be thought of as a kind of reflection of satisfactions in logic.

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A Critique of Welfare Economics by I. M. D. Little


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