Category Archives: Morality

Apples and oranges – Part II: Is Utilitarianism unfit for purpose?

(featured image via DALL·E) Utilitarianism receives a great deal of criticism. Is it a useless tool for making decisions, or are the detractors overstating their case? (Part I is here.) Imagine a business – say, a bakery – that has … Continue reading

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Apples and oranges – Part I: what is wrong with utilitarianism, anyway?

<featured image: <apples and oranges.jpg> via DALL·E) Utilitarianism is a philosophy to guide the choices we make, in which these should be judged on their consequences, against a requirement of maximizing happiness and well-being (or minimizing harm) for all affected … Continue reading

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What moves us

(featured image: oatsy40/Flickr CC BY 2.0) Sometimes we follow our intuition to do the right thing, without regard for costs and benefits. But how can we know it actually is the right thing? When little Sally climbs on a chair … Continue reading

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The ‘how’ and the ‘what’ of Effective Altruism (and of good decision making)

(Featured image: Tumisu/Pixabay) Good decision making is more about the “making” than about the “decision” Altruism is an intriguing phenomenon. Many of us make material sacrifices in money, effort or time that benefit others, without a clear immediate material benefit … Continue reading

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Morals on the scales

featured image: Bru-nO/Pixabay Does our morality have roots in an economic phenomenon? Imagine you’re back in elementary school. It’s the birthday of one of the kids in your class – the kid who has been pestering your little brother for … Continue reading

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Music, economics, ethics, and the dangers of myside bias

(featured image credit: Per Ole Hagen/Wikimedia CC BY-SA 1.0) The story of an old rocker pulling his music from a streaming platform ties together two key facets of our society, and warns us not to confuse preferences with general principles … Continue reading

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An unruly pair

(featured image: OGL/Wikimedia) Rules, can’t live with them, can’t live without them. But if it’s rules for thee but not for me, then trouble awaits Here is an easy riddle: what do Novak Djokovic and Boris Johnson have in common? … Continue reading

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Viral decisions

Featured image: Laura Billings/Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0 The extreme conditions a pandemic puts us in shines a stark light on the fundamental challenges of decision making – both at a personal level, and in policy making Imagine being asked not … Continue reading

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Our internal drivers

Featured image: <drivers.jpg> (image: HeungSoon/Pixabay) In the face of multiple, conflicting motives, how can we make the best decisions? The very first humans were already economists. At least, that is what we would conclude if we were to believe the … Continue reading

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Real repugnance

Should some transactions – even between two willing parties – be forbidden? The other day, I came across a picture from the US, showing a small sign attached to a tree announcing that someone was willing to buy diabetic test … Continue reading

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