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April 18, 2013



There are some other interesting narratives at miss here:

There is also a rational economic argument for collectivist morality: While I could violate a certain rule and get short-term profit, if that violation happens in society at large, the cost TO ME (not to speak of the cost to society in general) might outweigh the benefits. Therefore I do not do it and I might also police my peers.

For example: when I deposit money in a bank, I TRUST the bank not to reduce the value of my wealth (by say, sneakily take out a some quantity every so often). The bank looses in the short term (does not get the money that could make by stealing costumers), but gains a lot for the general trust in banks (obviously, were such a thing to happen, people would start using their mattresses en masse and banks would go bankrupt before someone could shout: "bailout")


Bourgeois morality is economically endogenous because it privileges property: something you possess but are fearful you may lose. The only way to stop assaults on police horses is to give everyone a pony.

David Ellis

`that moral codes will be strongest among what used to be called the middling sorts'

I think we are about to see the mass breakdown of moral codes (or at least their replacement with new more radical ones) amongst the middling sorts very soon as the currency becomes more debased and the nation's bankruptcy begins to tell.

The guy punching the police horse wasn't committing a crime (except in the eyes of the law) he was pursuing his politics by other means.

Stuart Brown

"So far, so trivial, you might think. No so."

Is that a typo or a very clever attempt at a Geordie accent?


"Cynics might think all this is yet another exercise in economic imperialism - an attempt to explain everything with the tools of costs and benefits"

Well-poisoning aside, that is precisely what this exercise does. Where economics cannot intrude it will attempt to smother with towering confections.

The economist who does not calculate the cost of each breath before taking it has some explaining to do. I wouldn't recommend that they do so using an Excel spreadsheet.

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