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7 - Private Matters

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 February 2023

Adam Oliver
Affiliation:
London School of Economics and Political Science
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Summary

In this chapter, I argue that there is no role for manipulative or coercive government paternalism over the private domain of decision-making. Followers of the liberal economic tradition contend that the competitive market is the best means by which to foster social cooperation. However, I maintain that we cannot ignore the fact that the competitive market harbours significant incentives for egoism, particularly in the provision of goods and services that are associated with market failures and where there is scope to exploit the behavioural influences. That said, private decisions that impose unacceptable externalities can be regulated against if needs be, and importantly, in the realm of private decision-making, where people ought to be free to pursue their desires – which includes entering competition with others if they so wish – the need to protect autonomy outweighs the arguments to disallow the competitive market. Moreover, the competitive market offers a means to protect people from poor goods and services by there being alternative suppliers. However, I note once again that governments do have a role to play in nurturing the reciprocal instincts.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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  • Private Matters
  • Adam Oliver, London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Book: A Political Economy of Behavioural Public Policy
  • Online publication: 16 February 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009282574.009
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  • Private Matters
  • Adam Oliver, London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Book: A Political Economy of Behavioural Public Policy
  • Online publication: 16 February 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009282574.009
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Private Matters
  • Adam Oliver, London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Book: A Political Economy of Behavioural Public Policy
  • Online publication: 16 February 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009282574.009
Available formats
×