The Irresistible Fetish of Utility Theory: From “Pleasure and Pain” to Rationalising Torture

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This note briefly examines the path that the economics discipline has taken since adopting the assumption that human behaviour is exclusively driven by utility maximisation. This view has prevented the full comprehension of most economic phenomena and has spread to other social disciplines, occasionally leading to results either ridiculous or tragic, such as using utility theory to rationalise torture. Such academic absurdity must be ended.

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Correspondence to Giovanni Dosi.

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Giovanni Dosi, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy.

Andrea Roventini, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy.

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Dosi, G., Roventini, A. The Irresistible Fetish of Utility Theory: From “Pleasure and Pain” to Rationalising Torture. Intereconomics 51, 286–287 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10272-016-0619-6

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