Ethics, Economics, and Politics: Some Principles of Public Policy

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In Ethics, Economics, and Politics Ian Little returns to offer a new defence of a rule-based utilitarianism as a basis for assessing the role of the State. Lucidly and elegantly he explains how the three disiplines of philosophy, economics and politics can be integrated to provide guidance on issues of public policy.

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Editorial Reviews

Foreign Affairs
Adam Smith himself was a moral philosopher, and many economists in the nineteenth century made significant contributions to what these days would be called social ethics. The last 30 years has seen social ethics flourish in the hands of philosophers such as John Rawls, Robert Nozick, and Ronald Dworkin, often aiming to provide an ethical rationale for — or rejection of — income redistribution; among economists, the habit has lapsed. But in this short, closely written book, octogenarian English economist Little offers his mature reflections on welfare economics and on the recent efforts by philosophers to provide a solid intellectual basis for moral principles and "justice." Little greets most of these efforts, and their attacks on utilitarianism, with a commonsensical skepticism. He maintains that any insistence on equality as a social norm needs to meet the operational requirements of precise specification and measurement. This book provides a valuable critical tour of modern ethics as applied to the scope and roles of government in the economy.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199257041
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 12/5/2002
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Fellow of Nuffield College, University of Oxford (Emeritus)
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Table of Contents

Part I: Economics and Philosophy
1. Personal Utility and Welfare
2. Collective Utility and Welfare
3. Welfare Economics
Part II: Politics and Philosophy
4. The Role of the State
5. Utilitarianism: Theory and Application
6. Utilitarianism: Justice and Equality
7. Contractarianism
8. Communitarianism
Part III: Economics and Politics
9. Games, Conventions, and Public Goods
10. Positive Political Economy
11. Normative Political Economy
Part IV: The Principles of Public Policy
12. The Principles of Public Policy

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