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JEREMY BENTHAM:

11
 JEREMY BENTHAM AND INTERVENTIONIST LIBERALISM

þ JEREMY BENTHAM [1748-1832]

þ PUBLISHED FRAGMENTS ON GOVERNMENT IN 1776.

þ BELIEVED GREATER DEMOCRACY WOULD PROMOTE "THE
  GREATEST GOOD FOR THE GREATEST NUMBER."
 

þ UTILITARIAN PHILOSOPHY.

þ EVERY ACT MORALLY VALUABLE TO EXTENT THAT IT
  RESULTED IN HAPPINESS.

þ HUMAN ACTIONS BASED ON POLES OF PLEASURE & PAIN.
  NATURE PLACED MANKIND ON UNDER TWO MASTERS:
  PLEASURE & PAIN.
 

þ SOCIAL SYSTEM SHOULD MAX SOCIAL BENEFITS &
  DISTRIBUTE THEM AS WIDELY AS POSSIBLE:

     þ SMALL INCREASE IN HAPPINESS FOR MANY BETTER
       THAN A LARGE INCREASE FOR A FEW.

þ COMPARISON OF MAGNITUDE OF BENEFITS & COSTS MUST
  BE MADE TO DETERMINE BEST SOLN.

þ CAN HAPPINESS OR UTILITY BE QUANTIFIED?

     þ YES, SAID BENTHAM.
     þ OTHERS SAID NO, ONLY COMPARISONS CAN BE
       MADE:

          þ I PREFER MARY TO JANE
          þ I PREFER APPLES TO ORANGES

     þ ABSOLUTE HAPPINESS FROM EATING APPLES
       IMPOSSIBLE TO MEASURE.

12
 JEREMY BENTHAM AND INTERVENTIONIST LIBERALISM
[C]

þ JB SAID PEOPLE IN FACT MAKE DECISIONS ON BASIS OF
  UTILITY DERIVED FROM ALTERNATIVE COURSES OF
ACTION.

þ THIS HEDONISTIC CALCULUS WAS PRINCIPLE UNDERLYING
  ALL HUMAN ACTION AND MEANS BY WHICH WELFARE OF
   SOCIETY MAXIMIZED.

þ YET, PEOPLE ACT ONLY FOR THEIR OWN GREATEST
  PLEASURE. WON'T THAT WORK AGAINST THE GREATEST
  HAPPINESS OF ALL?

þ WITHOUT GOVN, YES. BUT GOVERNMENT CAN CHANGE THAT
  CALCULUS. MORAL & LEGISLATIVE SANCTIONS CAUSE
  INDIVIDUAL ACTIONS TO COINCIDE WITH THE PUBLIC
  INTEREST:

     þ SANCTIONS REWARD INDIVIDUAL ACTIONS THAT
       BENEFIT ALL;

     þ SANCTIONS PUNISH ACTIONS THAT DIMINISH
       PUBLIC WELFARE.

þ JB VIEWED HUMANS AS PLEASURE MACHINES CONTINUALLY
  CALCULATING THE PROS & CONS OF ALTERNATIVE
  COURSES OF ACTION.

þ ASSUMPTION THAT INDIV DECISIONS WOULD LEAD TO MAX
  PUBLIC WELFARE INHERENT IN ADAM SMITH & OTHER
  CLASSICAL ECONOMISTS, BUT BENTHAM MADE EXPLICIT.

13
 JEREMY BENTHAM AND INTERVENTIONIST LIBERALISM
 

þ CLASSICAL LIBERALISM OF 18TH CENTURY STRESSED
  INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM AS ULTIMATE GOAL OF ALL
  POLICY:

     þ IT WAS REACTING AGAINST POL CENTRALIZATION &
       ECON REG.

     þ ANY RESTRICTION ON INDIV FREEDOM HINDERED
       ACHIEVEMENT OF MAX WELFARE.

     þ SMITH -->MIN ROLE OF GOVN TO POLICE,
       JUSTICE, ARMS.
 
 
 

þ BENTHAM DISAGREED. SAID SMITH APPROACH BASED ON
  ERRONEOUS IDEA THAT ONLY INDIVIDUAL ACTION COULD
  CREATE WELFARE.
 

þ JB: ACTIONS OF ONE PERSON IN HIS OWN INTEREST
  MIGHT REDUCE WELFARE OF OTHERS.

þ INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS WITHIN WHICH PEOPLE
  ACT COULD DETERMINE OUTCOME OF ACTIONS.

þ JB BELIEVED IN GOVN INTERVENTION TO IMPROVE
  PEOPLE'S LIVES.

þ CLASSICAL LIBERALISM THAT HAD STRESSED
  INDIVIDUALISM GAVE WAY TO AN INTERVENTIONIST
  LIBERALISM (THE PHILOSOPHICAL RADICALS) THAT
  STRESSED SOCIAL WELFARE. BENTHAM WAS ITS APOSTLE.

þ OTHER INTERVENTIONIST LIBERALS:

     JAMES MILL  DAVID RICARDO     JOHN STUART MILL

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