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A I recall we had some discussion in relation to Robin Upton's

Altruistic Economics

here in the past.

I remember attending his presentation with Ros Stock at LSE of this paper a few years ago.

Altruistic Economics: a Framework for Interaction Between Sympathetic Peers

In particular I was struck by the concept of Sympathy

s where 0 < s < 1

No doubt such a parameter (essentially "indifference value") is a staple of Heterodox Economics of which I am sublimely unaware, but the analysis that followed interested me until I found my maths getting a little rusty....


We present a numeric framework for explicit modeling care relations between peers.

By allowing agents to express their sympathy for their friends in such a concrete form, it provides a mathematical underpinning for the notion of 'wealth as relationships'.

A procedure is derived for the calculation of indirect sympathy relationships, permitting appropriately sympathetic treatment of friends of friends, friends of friends of friends and so on.

This is set in context as the basis for a collaborative, non-zero sum, network-based economy that could reward rather than punish altruism as a basic assumption.

2/ Sympathy

Sympathy is understood as an expression of the strength of feeling of one party for another, as evidenced by preparedness of one party to forego a gain to self so as to bring about a gain to the other.

2.1 Linear Sympathy

The simplest non-trivial sympathy model makes a crude but useful approximation. Sympathy is expressed as a scalar, s, defined with respect to a particular resource as follows: One party has sympathy for another if they are indifferent between receiving s units of a resource themselves and the other party
receiving 1 unit of that resource....

7/ Discussion

Classical market-based economics assumes that trading occurs only between independent self-maximisers disinterested in one another's welfare. Since it conflicts absolutely with what is known of human behaviour from psychological and sociological angles, this represents a serious flaw in the foundations of the theoretical edifice of modern economics.

A corollary to this is that many people in capitalist societies have come to draw a sharp distinction between their personal lives, where personal relationships are important, and their professional lives, in which they appear to be incapable of legitimate expression.

Altruistic Economics is a quantitative framework for structuring expressions of sympathy between peers.....

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Mar 1st, 2009 at 04:03:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This doesn't appear to be, strictly speaking, a model of altruism as socialist political theory would define altruism (fraternity).  Rather it is merely a conventional model of self interest with altruism defined as one of the self interests around which an actor maximizes utility. From what I can see briefly, it appears to be completely consistent with neoclassical economic theory.
by santiago on Sun Mar 1st, 2009 at 11:02:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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