Economic-consumer Self vs Moral-political Self

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I think Sagoff is right in his perception and feeling of a distinct departure between one's economic-consumer self and one's moral-political self. As his examples show (p.501), and I think we can all relate to at least some of them as much as we may not want to, not all preferences are actually expressed through the market (I know I am always sure to go to the gas station with the lowest gas prices and my college-student wallet is happy when prices are low, but I am much happier when they're higher because then the resource is being more appropriately priced).

Given a conventional view of economists, one could imagine an economist stating that the most important/serious moral choices are those which one expresses monetarily (through consumer choice), even if they are inconvenient or personally non-/less- beneficial. The saying "put your money where your mouth is" comes to mind, as using one's money in our society is the ultimate proof of one's seriousness and commitment to a topic or issue. However, that viewpoint only strengthens Sagoff's interpretation of modern versus ancient society. He states that the liberties focused on in the modern ago are those surrounding privacy and property, whereas formerly, foci were on community and participation (p. 508). When accepting only individual spending and consumption as the true measure of one's preferences, it is only possible to evaluate decisions on an individual (privacy and property) level. I think that Krisitin Shrader Frechette's analysis of risk-cost-benefit-analysis (RCBA) demonstrates this explicitly (though this is obviously NOT her intention).

As she attempts to show, through her essay, that environmental issues and values can be incorporated into traditional cost-be...

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...ype of discussion that Sagoff and Goodland/Ledec can have about the shortfalls in traditional economic evaluations because without it, nothing within the framework of RCBA will change. Shrader-Frechette states in defense of RCBA, that "one could always assign the value of negative infinity to consequences alleged to be the result of an action that violated some deontological principle"(p.511). However, I think that if RCBA in its current form is going to prove useful in the long-term, options like this need to be employed, not just talked about as a potential when trying to defend a questionable theory.

I do not know the answer to today's million-dollar question about what alternatives should be employed, but I do know that settling for something that is very sub-optimal is ridiculous when what is required is less defense and more brainstorming and active debate.

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