Individualism in the Anthropocene Age
What is the relationships between individual behavior and the social outcome or, alternatively, between individual freedom and the common good? This may be considered the fundamental question that economics and the social sciences in general need to explain. Adam Smith gave an answer to this question, which has become famous: Individuals acting guided by self-interest are led, as by an invisible hand, to the common good. This proposition constitutes the foundation of neoclassical economics and of the liberal doctrine, including its corresponding freedom discourse. Unified theory of capitalism has shown just the opposite result, as it predicts that individual freedom is conducive to economic growth with social maladies, which is consistent with the basic facts of capitalism. This essay summarizes the nature of the economic growth process as developed by unified theory and then discusses its implications for the role of individualism in the Anthropocene age.
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