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Morality and Power

On Ethics, Economics and Public Policy

Mike Berry

Offering a compelling critique of orthodox economic analysis in the public realm, Mike Berry exposes the lack of development in economic thinking in public policy since the economic crisis of 2008. Focusing on both the ethically unacceptable outcomes of recent public policy and the threat of populism and rising nationalism, this book offers noteworthy suggestions for an alternative social democratic future. Both students and practitioners of heterodox economics and public policy will find this a compelling insight into the ethical concerns and social impacts raised by the political ascendency of neoliberal policies in recent decades.
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Chapter 4: J.S. Mill’s apostasy

Mike Berry

Extract

Chapter 4 tells how John Stuart Mill sought to shake off the early influence of his father, James Mill, and Bentham to deal with features of classical utilitarianism that he found morally repugnant and politically dangerous. In particular, he objected to the radical egalitarianism implicit in Bentham’s theory and the associated view that ‘push-pin was as good as poetry’. Mill preferred an evolutionary approach to public policy and constitutional reform that would be governed by the gradual moral elevation of the masses utilitarian ethic.

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