Economic Efficiency and Social Justice
The Development of Utilitarian Ideas in Economics from Bentham to Edgeworth
Economic Efficiency and Social Justice traces the story of the development of utilitarian political economy.
Bentham, James and John Mill, Jevons, Sidgwick and Edgeworth all saw themselves as members of a distinct school of economists who took the pursuit of happiness as a guiding principle for the behaviour of individuals and governments. The greatest or general happiness became the ultimate test for all public policy and economic issues.
John Bonner's outstanding account of the development of utilitarian economics from the eighteenth to nineteenth centuries examines, in turn, the links between classical economics and the utilitarians, the influence of utilitarianism on modern welfare economics and the lives and times of the classical utilitarians.
Now that utilitarianism is again in fashion, among philosophers and social scientists as well as economists, John Bonner's book reminds students, scholars and policymakers that the classical utilitarians held contradictory views on what happiness could include, how utility could be measured, and whether they were radical reformers or supporters of the establishment.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
`John Bonner has presented a careful, even exquisite account of the development of utilitarian ideas in economics from Bentham to Edgeworth, identifying and deploying the characteristic elements of the "classical utilitarianism" of welfare economics. Among other things, he shows the incipient diversity extant within utilitarianism and the subordinate judgements made in its use.' -- Warren J. Samuels, Michigan State University, US `A useful acquisition for collections specializing in the history of economic thought or the history of moral philosophy. Upper-division undergraduate through professional.' -- S.Pressman, Choice