Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-5d59c44645-zlj4b Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-02-28T07:12:39.750Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

4 - The View from Nowhere

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 February 2023

Adam Oliver
Affiliation:
London School of Economics and Political Science
Get access

Summary

Academics and policy makers in several countries have been advocating for measures of utility and happiness to replace income as indicators of development, and the paternalism that has dominated behavioural public policy to date is justified in that people often fail to choose in accordance with their own well-being. Yet the notion of utility has a somewhat confused history, meaning different things to different people at different times. Hume, for instance, aligned utility with public usefulness, Bentham with pleasure and pain, and Mill and modern welfare economists with pretty much anything. A possible reason why there are many different meanings attached to the concept of utility is because many people, much of the time, are not driven to maximise utility at all. That is, the pursuit of utility does not drive desires, but rather desires are antecedent. Moreover, desires are multifarious and vary across people. The policy maker’s role over the private realm of individual decision-making should not therefore be to strive to maximise utility, but rather to put in place conditions that facilitate people in the pursuit of their own conception of a desired life.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

  • The View from Nowhere
  • 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/10.1017/9781009282574.006
Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

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 Dropbox.

  • The View from Nowhere
  • 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/10.1017/9781009282574.006
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.

  • The View from Nowhere
  • 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/10.1017/9781009282574.006
Available formats
×