, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 264–268 | Cite as

Motivationally Balancing Policy

  • Gil HerschEmail author
Symposium: Understanding Happiness


In response to Amitai Etzioni’s paper “Happiness Is the Wrong Metric” I argue several points. First, arguing against a view of humans as seeking only pleasure is a strawman, and ‘satisfiers’ should be more broadly understood as seeking to satisfy their preferences by maximizing utility. Second, the idea that humans have multiple motivations is not new, but is nevertheless important for understanding and guiding behavior. Third, the standard economic practice of methodological utility-maximization is beneficial in the short-term, while it has some potential downside in the long-term.


Methodological utility-maximization Multiple commitment Motivations Public policy 

Further Reading

  1. Aristotle. 1925. The Nichomachean Ethics. J. L. Translator: Ross David. Revised by: Ackrill & J. O. Urmson, (Eds.), (1980th ed.). Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Gneezy, U., & Rustichini, A. 2000. A Fine Is a Price. The Journal of Legal Studies, 29(1), 1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Marwell, G. R., & Ames, R. 1981. Economists Free Rides, Does Anyone Else? Journal of Public Economics, 15, 295–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Sen, A. 1977. Rational Fools: A Critique of the Behavioral Foundations of Economic Theory. Philosophy & Public Affairs, 6(4), 317–344.Google Scholar
  5. Smith, A. 1759. The Theory of Moral Sentiments. London, UK: Strand.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Philosophy and Public PolicyGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA

Personalised recommendations