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Ethics, Economics, and Politics

I. M. D. Little

Published in print October 2002 | ISBN: 9780199257041
Published online August 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601293 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199257043.001.0001
Ethics, Economics, and Politics

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Studies the three interfaces of ethics, economics, and politics. Any well‐considered view of the most desirable role for the state in various aspects of our lives implies some serious thinking about these subjects, and the way in which they interact. This can be done without formal academic training in any of them.

A central issue is the extent to which the state is entitled to, and should, control individual behaviour, and to what end. To a greater or lesser extent, and for differing reasons, states are concerned with the welfare of the people. However, the measurement of welfare, both individual and collective, involves ethical judgements; and various theories of social justice are therefore discussed. Utilitarianism is defended as a guiding principle for government behaviour, albeit with some constraining respect for rights. But welfare considerations do not require that the state be deeply involved in the production of goods and services. Excessive government can be a threat to democracy. The book ends with a sketch of the advocated boundaries of state responsibility and control.

Keywords: collective welfare; contractarianism; democracy; individual welfare; public expenditure; public production; rights; social justice; the state; utilitarianism

Book.  178 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Economics

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Table of Contents

Personal Utility and Welfare in Ethics, Economics, and Politics

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Collective Utility and Welfare in Ethics, Economics, and Politics

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Welfare Economics in Ethics, Economics, and Politics

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The Role of the State in Ethics, Economics, and Politics

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Utilitarianism: Theory and Applications in Ethics, Economics, and Politics

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Utilitarianism, Justice, and Equality in Ethics, Economics, and Politics

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Contractarianism in Ethics, Economics, and Politics

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Communitarianism in Ethics, Economics, and Politics

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Games, Conventions, and Public Goods in Ethics, Economics, and Politics

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Positive Political Economy in Ethics, Economics, and Politics

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