Advertisement

De Economist

, Volume 145, Issue 4, pp 491–520 | Cite as

Etzioni versus Becker: Do Moral Sentiments differ from Ordinary Tastes?

  • Elias L. Khalil
Article

Abstract

There are two competing definitions of economics. One, exemplified in Etzioni's work, stipulates that economics is the study of one kind of ends, the pursuit of material benefits (welfare). This definition entails that material ends are incommensurable with moral ends. The other, expressed in Becker's work, registers that economics is the analysis of one aspect of all ends, optimization. This definition implies that material and moral ends are commensurable. The paper finds that each definition has its own shortcomings. The paper outlines an alternative view, illustrated by the difference between gifts and grants, which promises to supplant the shortcomings of each definition.

substantive utility symbolic utility (respect and integrity) by-product effect the gift/grant distinction 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  1. Akerlof, George, 1982,'Wage Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange,' Quarterly Journal of Economics, 97, pp. 543–569. Reprinted in: G. Akerlof, An Economic Theorist's Book of Tales, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1984, pp. 145-174.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, Elizabeth, 1990,'The Ethical Limitations of the Market,' Economics and Philosophy, 6, pp. 179–205.Google Scholar
  3. Anderson, Elizabeth, 1993, Value in Ethics and Economics, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Arrow, Kenneth J., 1975,'Gifts and Exchanges,' in: Edmund S. Phelps (ed.), Altruism, Morality, and Economic Theory, New York, Russell Sage Foundation, pp. 13–28.Google Scholar
  5. Axelrod, Robert, 1984, The Evolution of Cooperation, New York, Basic Books.Google Scholar
  6. Axelrod, Robert, 1986,'An Evolutionary Approach to Social Norms,' American Political Science Re-view, 80, pp. 1095–1111.Google Scholar
  7. Becker, Gary S., 1968,'Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach,' Journal of Political Economy, 76, pp. 169–217.Google Scholar
  8. Becker, Gary S., 1974,'A Theory of Social Interactions,' Journal of Political Economy, 82, pp. 1063–1093.Google Scholar
  9. Becker, Gary S, 1976a, The Economic Approach to Human Behavior, Chicago, University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  10. Becker, Gary S, 1976b,'Altruism, Egoism, and Genetic Fitness: Economics and Sociobiology,' Jour-nal of Economic Literature, 4, pp. 817–826.Google Scholar
  11. Becker, Lawrence C., 1986, Reciprocity, Chicago, University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  12. Bordley, Robert F., 1983,'A Central Principle of Science: Optimization,' Behavioral Science, 28, pp. 53–64.Google Scholar
  13. Boulding, Kenneth E., 1973, The Economy of Love and Fear: A Preface to Grants Economics, Belmont, CA, Wadsworth.Google Scholar
  14. Boulding, Kenneth E., 1981, A Preface to Grant's Economics: The Economy of Love and Fear, New York, Praeger.Google Scholar
  15. Boulding, Kenneth E., 1987,'The Economics of Pride and Shame,' Atlantic Economic Journal, 15, pp. 10–19.Google Scholar
  16. Boulding, Kenneth E. and Tapan Mukerjee (eds.), 1972, Economic Imperialism: A Book of Readings, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  17. Coase, Ronald H., 1978,'Economics and Contiguous Disciplines,' Journal of Legal Studies, pp. 201–211.Google Scholar
  18. Cuzzort, R. P. and Edith W. King, 1995,'The Unanticipated Consequences of Human Actions: The Functional Analysis of Robert K. Merton,' in: Twentieth-Century Social Thought, Fort Worth, TX, Harcourt Brace College Publishers, pp. 249–273.Google Scholar
  19. Davidson, D., 1980,'How is Weakness of Will Possible?,' in: D. Davidson, Essays on Actions and Events, Oxford, Oxford University Press, chapter 2.Google Scholar
  20. Durkheim, Émile, 1983, Professional Ethics and Civic Morals, translated by Cornelia Brookfield, Westport, CT, Greenwood Press, (1898–1990).Google Scholar
  21. Durkheim, Émile, 1984, The Division of Labor in Society, translated by W. D. Halls, New York, Free Press, (1893).Google Scholar
  22. Elster, Jon, 1983, Sour Grapes: Studies in the Subversion of Rationality, Cambridge, Cambridge Uni-versity Press.Google Scholar
  23. Elster, Jon, 1985,'Weakness of Will and the Free-Rider Problem,' Economics and Philosophy, 1. pp. 231–265.Google Scholar
  24. Etzioni, Amitai, 1986,'The Case for a Multiple-Utility conception,' Economics and Philosophy, 2, pp. 159–183.Google Scholar
  25. Etzioni, Amitai, 1988, The Moral Dimension: Toward a New Economics, New York, Free Press.Google Scholar
  26. Ghiselin, Michael T., 1992,'Biology Economics, and Bioeconomics,' in: Gerard Radnitzky (ed.), Uni-versal Economics: Assessing the Achievements of the Economic Approach, New York, ICUS Pub-lications, pp. 55–104.Google Scholar
  27. Godelier, Maurice, 1971,'"Salt Currency" and the Circulation of Commodities Among the Baruya of New Guinea,' in: George Dalton (ed.), Studies in Economic Anthropology, Washington, DC, American Anthropological Association.Google Scholar
  28. Gouldner, A., 1960,'The Norm of Reciprocity: A Preliminary Statement,' American Sociological Re-view, 25, pp. 161–178.Google Scholar
  29. Groenewegen, John (ed.), 1995, Transaction Cost Economics and Beyond, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, Kluwer Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  30. Hefner, Robert W., 1983,'The Problem of Preference: Economic and Ritual Change Highlands Java,' Man (N. S.), 18, pp. 669–689.Google Scholar
  31. Hefner, Robert W., 1990, The Political Economy of Mountain Java: An Interpretive History, Berkeley, CA, University of California Press.Google Scholar
  32. Hirschman, Albert O., 1985,'Against Parsimony: Three Easy Ways of Complicating some Categories of Economic Discourse,' Economics and Philosophy, 1: pp. 7–21.Google Scholar
  33. Hirshleifer, Jack, 1985,'The Expanding Domain of Economics,' American Economic Review (Special Issue), 75, pp. 53–68.Google Scholar
  34. Hodgson, Geoffrey M. (ed.), 1995, Economics and Biology, Aldershot, UKGoogle Scholar
  35. Edward Elgar. Kahan, Dan M., 1996,'What Do Alternative Sanctions Mean?,' University of Chicago Law Review, 63.Google Scholar
  36. Keyes, Charles F., 1983a,'Introduction: Peasant Strategies in Asian Societies-Moral and Rational Economic Approaches-A Symposium,' Journal of Asian Studies, 42: pp. 753–768.Google Scholar
  37. Keyes, Charles, F., 1983b,'Economic Action and Buddhist Morality in a Thai Village,' Journal of Asian Studies, 42, pp. 851–868.Google Scholar
  38. Khalil, Elias L., 1990,'Beyond Self-Interest and Altruism: A Reconstruction of Adam Smith's Theory of Human Conduct,' Economics and Philosophy, 6, pp. 255–273.Google Scholar
  39. Khalil, Elias L., 1995a 'On the Scope of Economics: What is the Question?,' Finnish Economic Papers, 8, pp. 38–53.Google Scholar
  40. Khalil, Elias L., 1995b,'The Socioculturalist Agenda in Economics: Critical Remarks of Thorstein Veblen's Legacy,' Journal of Socio-Economics, 24, pp. 545–569.Google Scholar
  41. Khalil, Elias L., 1996a,'What is Economic Action? From Marshall and Robbins to Polanyi and Becker,' Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 18, pp. 13–36.Google Scholar
  42. Khalil, Elias L., 1996b,'Respect, Admiration, Aggrandizement: Adam Smith as Economic Psycholo-gist,' Journal of Economic Psychology, 17, pp. 555–577.Google Scholar
  43. Khalil, Elias L., 1997a,'Buridan's Ass, Uncertainty, Risk, and Self-Competition: A Theory of Entre-preneurship,' Kyklos, 50 pp. 147–163.Google Scholar
  44. Khalil, Elias L., 1997b,'Symbolic Products: Prestige, Pride and Identity Goods,' mimeo.Google Scholar
  45. Khalil, Elias L., 1997c,'Sentimental Fools: Amartya Sen and the Problem of Commitment in Economic Theory,' mimeo.Google Scholar
  46. Kollock, Peter, 1994,'The Emergence of Exchange Structures: An Experimental Study of Uncer-tainty, Commitment, and Trust,' American Journal of Sociology, 100, pp. 315–345.Google Scholar
  47. Levi, Issac, 1986, Hard Choices: Decision-Making Under Unresolved Conflict, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  48. Levine, Lynn, 1986,'Hegel and the Ethics of Marriage,' Social Concept, pp. 27–39.Google Scholar
  49. MacArthur, Robert H. and E. R. Pianka., 1966,'On the Optimal Use of a Patchy Environment,' American Naturalist, 100, pp. 603–609.Google Scholar
  50. Macfarlane, Alan, 1987, The Culture of Capitalism, Oxford and New York, Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  51. Malinowski, Bronislaw, 1922, Argonauts of the Western Pacific, New York, Dutton.Google Scholar
  52. Marshall, Alfred, 1920, Principles of Economics, London, Macmillan.Google Scholar
  53. Mauss, Marcel, 1990, The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies, translated by W. D. Halls, foreword by Mary Douglas, London, Routledge, (1950).Google Scholar
  54. Merton, Robert, 1989,'The Unanticipated Consequences and Kindred Sociological Ideas: A Personal Gloss,' in: C. Mongardini and S. Tabboni (eds.), L'Opera di Robert K. Merton e la Sociologia Contemporanea, Genoa, Acig, pp. 307–329.Google Scholar
  55. Nietzsche, Friedrich, 1966, Beyond Good and Evil, translated by Walter Kaufmann, New York, Vintage.Google Scholar
  56. Parsons, Talcott and Neil Smelser, 1956, Economy and Society: A Study in the Integration of Eco-nomic and Social Theory, Glencoe, IL, Free Press.Google Scholar
  57. Plattner, Stuart (ed.), 1989, Economic Anthropology, Stanford, CA, Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  58. Polanyi, Karl, 1957a, The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time, forword by Robert M. MacIver, Boston, Beacon Press, (1944).Google Scholar
  59. Polanyi, Karl, 1957b,'The Economy as Instituted Process,' in: Karl Polanyi, Conrad M. Arensberg, and Harry W. Pearson (eds.), Trade and Market in the Early Empires: Economies in History and Theory, Glencoe, IL, Free Press, pp. 243–270.Google Scholar
  60. Radnitzky, Gerard and Peter Bernholz (eds.), 1986, Economic Imperialism: The Economic Method Applied Outside the Field of Economics, New York, Paragon House.Google Scholar
  61. Robbins, Lionel Charles, 1935, An Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economic Science, London, Macmillan.Google Scholar
  62. Schoemaker, Paul J. H., 1984,'Optimality Principles in Science: Some Epistemological Issues,' in: Jean H. P. Paelinck and Paulus H. Vossen (eds.), The Quest for Optimality, Aldershot, UK, Gower, pp. 4–31.Google Scholar
  63. Sen, Amartya K., 1977,'Rational Fools: A Critique of the Behavioral Foundations of Economic Theory,' Philosophy and Public Affairs, pp. 317–344.Google Scholar
  64. Simon, Herbert A., 1957, Models of Man, New York, John Wiley.Google Scholar
  65. Smith, Adam, 1976a, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, edited by D. D. Raphael and A. L. Macfie, Oxford, Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  66. Smith, Adam, 1976b, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, in 2 volumes, general editors R. H. Campbell and A. S. Skinner, textual editor W. B. Todd, Oxford, Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  67. Sugden, Robert, 1984,'Reciprocity: The Supply of Public Goods through Voluntary Contributions,' Economic Journal, 94, pp. 772–787.Google Scholar
  68. Swaney, James A., 1990,'Common Property, Reciprocity, and Community', Journal of Economic Is-sues, 24, pp. 451–462.Google Scholar
  69. Uberoi, J., 1962. Politics of the Kula Ring, Manchester, Manchester University Press. Ullman-Margalit, Edna, 1978. 'Invisible Hand Explanations,' Syntheses, 39, pp. 263–291.Google Scholar
  70. Vanberg, Viktor, 1994. Rules and Choice, London, Routledge.Google Scholar
  71. Walzer, Michael, 1983, Spheres of Justice, New York, Basic Books.Google Scholar
  72. Weiner, Annette B., 1983,'A World of Made is Not a World of Born: Doing Kula in Kiriwina,' in: J. Leach and E. Leach (eds.), The Kula: New Perspectives on Massim Exchange, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  73. Weiner, Annette, B., 1992, Inalienable Possessions: The Paradox of Keeping-While-Giving, Berkeley, University of California Press.Google Scholar
  74. Wiessner, Polly, 1982,'Risk, Reciprocity, and Social Influences on)Kung San Economics,' in: E. Leacock and R. B. Lee (eds.), Politics and History in Band Societies, Cambridge, Cambridge Uni-versity Press, pp. 61–84.Google Scholar
  75. Williamson, Oliver E., 1983,'Credible Commitments: Using Hostages to Support Exchange,' American Economic Review, 73, pp. 519–540.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elias L. Khalil
    • 1
  1. 1.Ohio State UniversityUSA

Personalised recommendations