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OK!  Here is my short summation of Veblen on utility.

When confronted with the "what do YOU propose?" question, Veblen came up with three motivations he thought more economically important than utility:

  1. The Parental Instinct
  2. The Instinct of Idle Curiosity, and my favorite
  3. The Instinct of Workmanship

All three can be EASILY demonstrated, yet we still have to listen to the utility extremists because IMHO, it gives a "scientific" luster to naked greed.  The Alchemy of Neo-Classical economics is turning a vice into a "virtue".  Not surprisingly, it doesn't work well.

Not only are the utility extremists batshit insane, they cause GREAT harm to both people and the biosphere.  Our only hope is to ridicule them out of the legitimate debate on our economic future.

And as you know, utility extremists lie thick on the ground throughout the Anglo-American academic world.  In fact, an unquestioned belief in utility is one of the boundary maintaining mechanisms of the profession.  We have lost a whole generation of economists to the cult of utility.  The damage has literally been incalculable.


"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"

by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Wed Jul 18th, 2007 at 05:46:26 PM EST
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