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Basically, if you go to that article, Bentham's utilitarianism is narrow, because it assumes simple pleasure and pain to be the two absolutes of ethics, whereas JS Mill's utilitarianism isn't as narrow.

What I personally meant by a narrow utilitarianism is a utilitarianism which uses a methodological individualism to form a societal calculus of happiness (unqualified, in the sense of Bentham), of which the maximation is taken to be the end-all of decision-making (individual as well as collective).

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Fri Oct 20th, 2006 at 02:20:10 PM EST
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Certainly we don't want to encourage the idea that a single parameter should be the final arbiter of the health or quality of an individual life or society.

However, until we come up with truly a "complete"/multi-dimensional approach or mindset to replace the GDP/DJI-oriented mindset, and until people are ready to make such a drastic switch to such a different mindset, would it not be helpful to find some transitional position where we allow people to continue working with an easily graspable, easily comparable single number, like PPP median income or, better, HDI, to start to introduce such "revolutionary" notions as including fairness, socioeconomic equality, freedom from ignorance, freedom from government oppression, and so on, beyond mere GDP?

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Fri Oct 20th, 2006 at 09:03:51 PM EST
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What would be interesting as an intermediate solution is using a variety of measures. There are many measures in circulation right now. Competitiveness, perceived corruption, commitment to development, openness of the economy, etc. etc. etc.

These don't provide the basis for a unitary ranking but can be used as an overview. Might be an idea for a diary, actually (I probably won't have the time to do that properly until next weekend, though).

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat Oct 21st, 2006 at 01:19:40 PM EST
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If you do have time to do it next weekend, you can count on me to be one of your first readers!

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Sat Oct 21st, 2006 at 07:45:33 PM EST
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