Ed Dodson responding... [EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote: > I wonder, does this mean that the primary goal of policy-makers should be full >employment, forsaking all others? Should the goal of economic policy be the >reduction of unhappiness? Should the members of the Federal Open Market Committee of >the Federal Reserve throw their beige books out the window and instead sit on park >benches in the Washington Mall and count the number of frowning passerbys? Ed Dodson here: I have a three part response that is both personal and philosophical (economists will need to react to this other than from a benefit/cost, utility maximization perspective): (1) What policy makers and analysts 'ought' to work toward in the structure of law and regulation is to create "a fair field with no favors." We have no other recourse than to rely on broad participatory decision-making, guided by an appreciation for moral principles, to determine what remedies 'ought' to be applied for past injustices caused by the distribution of privilege (in the form of economic licenses) to some at the expense of others. (2) I have always found an observation by Henry George in the late 19th century about human behavior as quite accurate. He said (essentially): "that we tend to seek to satisfy our desires with the least exertion, which reveals itself in a general tendency to want to monopolize natural opportunities." (3) The philosopher Mortimer Adler has written that societies are justly structured when all members of the society have access to at least the minimum level of "goods" required for a decent human existence. In this list he includes food, clothing, shelter, education, medical care, the opportunity and time for civic involvement and for leisure.
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