By I. M. D. Little

ISBN-10: 0195664647

ISBN-13: 9780195664645

ISBN-10: 0198281196

ISBN-13: 9780198281191

First released in 1950, this publication was once curious about the exposition, feedback, and appreciation of the idea of financial welfare because it have been constructed to that date. Now reissued, Little has additional a brand new retrospective preface during which he assesses the contribution the publication made within the mild of next literature within the zone.

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Extra resources for A Critique of Welfare Economics

Sample text

It is also true that an ordinal utility system cannot be applied to the above situation, because differences in the amount of utility do not occur within such a system. In an ordinal utility system there is no significance in asking how much more utility one derives from A than B, or in asking whether the extent to which one prefers A to B is greater or less than the extent to which one prefers C to A. Also it is obvious that in this context 'prefers' means 'likes better'. It is, moreover, true that people do compare differences in satisfaction.

Suppose, then, that we have a set of noncrossing curves, as in Fig. II. As before, all points on or below the line AB are possibilities for our subject. In order that he should select the point E, it is clear that one must in abstract terms have a maximizing postulate. He must seek to reach the highest curve possible. But what interpretation should now be put upon this postulate ? The area above any curve represents points which the man said he would take rather than any given point on the curve.

How, then, can it be interpreted ? e. a higher marginal utility of money is to be taken as a sufficient criterion of a lower real income. 2 Therefore, on the utilitarian view, if the marginal utility of money income is equal for everyone, then satisfaction is maximized, and, by definition, everyone is economically equal; and, by definition, one man is really richer than another when the marginal utility of money is for him lower than for the other. , p. 89. The phrase 'real income' is ambiguous.

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A Critique of Welfare Economics by I. M. D. Little

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