While not evident immediately, social norms and values play a crucial role in the theory of social choice. In the first half of the twentieth century, the special acknowledgement by economic theory of the autonomy of individuals and their subjective view of the world had led to the serious problem that socially acceptable decisions could not be made in the absence of unanimity. In this work, social norms and values are reintroduced to overcome this shortcoming by applying a common standard and, thus, making individual preferences comparable. In particular, it is shown, how the adoption of these standards is part of every individual's social development, how the standards themselves arose in the course of social evolution and how human beings were endowed with the necessary learning mechanism by Darwinian evolution in the first place. This impressive, unique book is well informed and clearly written. It will be of great interest to all those students, academics and researchers who are interested in evolutionary economics as well as social welfare and philosophy.
Table of Contents
Introduction Part One: Evolution, Behavior, and Learning 1. Evolution and Learning - the Rise of Behavioral Plasticity 2. Motivation and Well-being 3. Propagation of Behavioral Determinants Part Two: Coordination, Cooperation and Social Welfare 4. The Significance of the Group for the Evolution of Order and Cooperation 5. Welfare and Evolution
Christian Sartorius is Post-doctoral research fellow in the Energy Systems Unit of the Technical University of Berlin, Germany.