Relationship between morality and economics

relationship between morality and economics

In assessing the relationship between ethics and economics, one has, in the first place, In fact many economic thinkers tend to base their principles on moral. mathematical model for the relationship between political authority, moral development and economic prosperity. Economic development requires an economic. Morality matters for economic performance between values consistent with " generalised" vs "limited" morality. The correlation is strong both within multilingual countries and across countries speaking different languages.

Until the s, state lotteries were considered immoral in the United States; selling contraceptive products across state lines and even their use at home was illegal in many states. Paying ordinary soldiers a living wage was considered morally unacceptable in the United States until the end of the military draft and the beginning of the all-volunteer force in the s. Allowing in vitro fertilization to be provided as a service in the health care market was highly controversial.

Paid blood donation is still unacceptable to many Americans. But blood plasma and sperm donors are commonly paid.

A woman cannot receive money for donating a kidney, but she can be paid for her eggs or for bearing a child as a surrogate mother. Differences in where the price mechanism is allowed vary considerably across countries: Perhaps there should be little or no pay for workers in health care, education, social work, or government, because we would not wish to erode the moral virtue of such jobs.

These suggestions are meant to provoke discussion, not to be serious proposals.

relationship between morality and economics

But they do illustrate that economic incentives need not always be viewed as inconsistent with civic and moral virtue. Indeed, when economic thinking has been expanded to areas outside its traditional scope, the results have often proven fruitful.

For example, economists have built on the work of the late Nobel laureate Gary Becker and others to show how economic thinking can explain the dynamics of subjects previously not considered to be economic topics, such as marriage, child rearing, crime, and discrimination against particular groups of people.

The idea that the armed forces should attract employees with pay, benefits, and career options, rather than compel service with a draft, is now a mainstream view. So is the notion that environmental problems can be fruitfully addressed by putting a price on pollution—for example, through deposits on cans and bottles, taxes on goods such as gasoline that contribute to pollution, and company purchases and sales of permits for certain pollutants, which provide an incentive to reduce pollution at a lower social cost.

It is tempting to seek to build a fence around moral and civic virtues to prevent the encroachment of economic values. But as the United States learned with its attempt to ban alcohol during the early 20th century, economic forces are not easily blocked, and a well-regulated marketplace often proves to be a more pragmatic way of balancing moral and civic values than laws that ban behavior based on moral arguments. Even basic introductory economics courses are focused on thinking about how to deal with the trade-offs that are inevitable in a world of scarcity.

relationship between morality and economics

Such introductory courses discuss supply and demand and markets, of course, but also anticompetitive behavior, pollution, poverty, unemployment, and the pros and cons of globalization and trade. Those with a little more background in economics know that great economists—starting with Adam Smith, in his classic, The Wealth of Nations—have struggled for more than two centuries with the issues of inequality, fairness, the rule of law, and social welfare.

relationship between morality and economics

Just to be clear, economists themselves do not argue that greater selfishness is desirable. After all, many academic subjects study unsavory aspects of human behavior. Political science, history, psychology, sociology, and literature are often concerned with aggression, obsessiveness, selfishness, and cruelty, not to mention lust, sloth, greed, envy, pride, wrath, and gluttony. But no one seems to fear that students in these other disciplines are on the fast track to becoming sociopaths.

Why is economics supposed to be so uniquely corrupting? After all, professional economists run the ideological gamut from far left to far right, which suggests that training in economics is not an ideological straitjacket.

Some evidence suggests a link between the study of economics and less cooperative or empathetic behavior, although overall, the research that attempts to link an area of academic study to altered personality traits has not been especially rigorous. For example, a U. One study surveyed students at Cornell University about how they would react, and how they would expect others to react, if they benefited from a billing error and wound up with 10 computers but had paid for only 9.

After taking a class in economic game theory, students were less likely to say that they would report the error and less likely to believe that others would report it Frank, Gilovich, and Regan, More than half the letters left in economics classrooms were sealed and dropped in the mail with the money included; less than a third of those on the floor in other classes were mailed back Yezer, Goldfarb, and Poppen, Of course, such comparisons may mean only that economics attracts people who are more likely to react in certain ways, not that the study of economics causes people to act in this way.

In yet another study, business executives were first given a task of unscrambling 30 sentences, some of which had economics words—like continues, economy, growing, our—while others had words like green, tree, was, a that were unrelated to economics.

Economics and Morality -- Finance & Development, June

Next, the executives did role-playing exercises in which they wrote letters to an employee being transferred to another city or being disciplined for lateness. No economist would recommend consulting an economics textbook as a practical source of transcendent moral wisdom. But when moral philosophers consider topics that touch on the ordinary business of life, they cannot wish away or banish the importance of economics either.

He blogs at http: Ethics for an Age of Commerce Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Grant, and Joshua D. Why or why not?

relationship between morality and economics

Some murderers taunt their victims before killing them. Some cats play with mice before killing them. What is the purpose of a moral code?

Here is my proposed definition of morality: Any act that provides an evolutionary advantage for the survival of a species is moral. Or said another way, a moral code is developed as the means to provide a species survival advantage. In that sense, all social animals, from ants to humans, have created and follow rules, which together constitute their moral code.

But those, who choose to disobey the rules, are frowned upon and often are punished by the majority members of the species. Such people are felt to be immoral.

Economic and moral rights

Their actions threaten species survival. Other religions have codes of conduct, listing different actions as immoral, as do every nonsectarian group, all for the same purpose: To strengthen the group.

Certain acts may be perceived to provide individual, personal advantages. But if these advantages harm the evolutionary interests of the species, they will be seen as immoral; laws will be passed to prevent them; and the perpetrators often will be punished. Evolutionary advantage is the basis for our legal code, though many laws are created by immoral or ignorant people; these are the laws that damage the evolutionary interests of our species.

Laws that prohibited African Americans from full participation in society were immoral, not only because they were unfair, but because they were antithetical to species survival.

The Inseparable Link Between Morality And Economics

Unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, regarding any group. Blanket hatred of blacks, yellows, browns, reds, Jews, Muslims, Christians, aliens or women all can be considered unreasonable — and all are immoral because they damage the evolutionary interests of our species.

relationship between morality and economics

They make our species less safe.