Mera om kopplingen Bentham, lycka och politisk ekonomi

Jag hamnar då och då i trådar som aldrig sinar när man börjar nysta i dem. Så här kommer ytterligare några Benthamanteckningar för arkivet, som jag kanske plockar upp för användning vid ett senare tillfälle.

Michael Quinn skriver i en helt färsk artikel 1 om Benthams lyckomått och relationen till pengar, som jag har nämnt tidigare. Han skriver (och citerar Bentham):

Certainly in the 1770s, before writing IPML 2, Bentham advanced the claim that there was a common metric according to which the values of different pleasures and pains could be measured, and that that metric was constituted by money:

”If then, speaking of the quantity of various pains and pleasure[s] and agreeing in the same propositions concerning them we would annex the same ideas to these propositions, that is if we would understand one another, we must make use of some common measure. The only common measure the nature of things affords is money. How much money would you give to purchase such a pleasure? 5 Pounds and no more. How much money would you give to purchase such another pleasure? 5 pounds and no more. The two pleasures are equal. How much money would you give to purchase immediately such a pleasure? 5 Pounds and no more. How much money would you give to exempt yourself immediately from such a pain? 5 pounds and no more. The pleasure and the pain must be reputed equivalent. 3

Bentham does here prefigure both the notion of willingness to pay, and that of indifference between pleasures, or between combinations of pleasures and pains, as indicative of equality in value, which lie at the heart of contemporary cost-benefit analysis and micro-economics respectively. (p. 77 – 78)

Tesen om att lyckoekonomin är explicitgjord (men inte omsatt i praktiken) redan hos Bentham stärks således.

Ännu djupare går välfärdsekonomen Anoinette Baujard i en artikel från 2009 4. Här skriver Baujard mycket utförligt om de olika överväganden som Bentham gör kring att använda pengar som måttstock. Jag måste återvända till denna text för en djupdykning, men just nu hinner jag bara citera kort:

In other words, appeal to a monetary metric facilitates the realisation of intrapersonal and interpersonal comparisons of utility, necessary for the expression of social judgments. Bentham is therefore able to employ money as the basic datum summarising information on pleasure and pain.

”Now, money, as has been said is the only current and universal means in the hands of the Legislator of producing pleasure. (Bentham U.C. 27.36, reproduced by Goldworth 1979: 12)”

It may be used to infer just policy, or to implement policy. (p. 442-443)

Mycket intressant. Mycket modernt.

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:

  1. Quinn, Michael (2014) ”Bentham on Mensuration: Calculation and Moral Reasoning”, Utilitas, 26, pp 61-104. doi:10.1017/S0953820813000241
  2. Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation
  3. UC xxvii. 36–7 (in Baumgardt, Bentham and the Ethics of Today, p. 561).
  4. Baujard, Antoinette (2009) ”A return to Bentham’s felicific calculus: From moral welfarism to technical non-welfarism”, European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 16:3, 431-453, DOI: 10.1080/09672560903101294

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