« How does lack of desire compare to its satisfaction? | Main | The end of Adam Smith? »

November 10, 2011

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Mark asks: "But where are the voices crying out to restrain them, to orient our decision-making more towards activities that will satisfy our desires rather than simply make us feel good compared to our neighbors?"

Here's a partial answer: Many religions (which appeared for evolutionary purposes?) strive to break the deep grip of relative rankings. So, in the Bible, we are admonished not to covet our neighbor's possessions. Buddhism would strive to make us give up our desires altogether.

It's a tough challenge to focus on the "right" things, which as Mark points out, have mostly to do with our relationship with ourselves. Judging ourselves based on the achievements of others leads to perpetual depression, as Adam Smith pointed out in the parable of the poor man's son in TMS.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

OUR BOOKS
Accepting the Invisible Hand: Market-Based Approaches to Social-Economic Problems, Mark D. White (ed)

Beyond Social Capital: A Critical Approach, Irene van Stavern and Peter Knorringa (eds)

Economics and the Mind, Barbara Montero and Mark D. White (eds)

Ethics and Economics: New Perspectives, Mark D. White and Irene van Staveren (eds)

Ethics in Economics: An Introduction to Moral Frameworks, Jonathan B. Wight

The Feminist Economics of Trade, Irene van Staveren et al (eds)

Handbook of Economics and Ethics, Jan Peil and Irene van Staveren (eds)

The Illusion of Well-Being: Economic Policymaking Based on Respect and Responsiveness, Mark D. White

Kantian Ethics and Economics: Autonomy, Dignity, and Character, Mark D. White

Law and Social Economics: Essays in Ethical Values for Theory, Practice, and Policy, Mark D. White (ed.)

The Manipulation of Choice: Ethics and Libertarian Paternalism, Mark D. White

Retributivism: Essays on Theory and Policy, Mark D. White (ed.)

Saving Adam Smith: A Tale of Wealth, Transformation, and Virtue, Jonathan B. Wight

Street Porter and the Philosopher: Conversations on Analytical Egalitarianism, Sandra J. Peart and David M. Levy (eds)

Teaching the Ethical Foundations of Economics, Jonathan B. Wight and John S. Morton et al

Theoretical Foundations of Law and Economics, Mark D. White (ed.)

The Thief of Time: Philosophical Essays on Procrastination, Chrisoula Andreou and Mark D. White (eds)

The Values of Economics: An Aristotelian Perspective, Irene van Staveren

The Vanity of the Philosopher: From Equality to Hierarchy in Postclassical Economics, Sandra J. Peart and David M. Levy