Der Apriorist - Abstracts 18. Oct. 2010

Endogenous Morality

by Bruce L. Benson

Tags: norms, cooperation, benevolence, extortion, rationalization, public choice, psychology
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Bruce L. Benson. Endogenous Morality. The Encyclopedia of Public Choice 2003.2, 540-543.

Abstract: Philosophers propose a moral foundation for property rights, but a property rights foundation for morality is outlined here. It is contended that the desire to expand wealth in the face of scarcity underlies the evolution of rules, including moral norms. People "rationalize" their behavior as moral by adopting beliefs which reduce the costs (psychic or tangible) of achieving their objectives. Individuals expand their wealth through production or takings, and moral beliefs that evolve in institutions that support each process are explored. Situational morality arises for a single individual due to simultaneous involvement in numerous institutional arrangements.

JEL Classification: Z13, A13, B52

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