A Handbook of Alternative Theories of Public Economics
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A Handbook of Alternative Theories of Public Economics

  • Elgar original reference

Edited by Francesco Forte, Ram Mudambi and Pietro Maria Navarra

This comprehensive and thought-provoking Handbook reviews public sector economics from pluralist perspectives that either complement or reach beyond mainstream views. The book takes a comprehensive interdisciplinary approach, drawing on economic elements in the fields of philosophy, sociology, psychology, history and law.
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Chapter 9: Western religion, social ethics and public economics

Nils Goldschmidt and André Habisch

Extract

As Stanford economic historian Gregory Clark (2009) has shown in his impressively broad meta-study covering evidence from more than 800 years, industrialization marks no less than the single most radical transformation of living conditions in human history. This holds true not only for a tiny elite minority, but also for the majority of poorly trained simple laborers: during the decades of the modernization process, they were able to increase their per capita income in an unprecedented way. According to the 'principle of population' of economic demographer Thomas Malthus, such a large increase would only be possible when major crises (wars, epidemics) had seriously reduced the population size. During industrialization, however, the increase of income was rather accompanied by a population growth - in Germany, for example, the number nearly doubled during the period 1870-1914. At the same time, with the emergence of the industrial world, living and working conditions underwent a complete change. The economic transformation came along with an intellectual, social, and cultural one. It revolutionized the way in which the daily program was structured (now governed by the necessities of industrial production), the family life (division of labor and private space, segregation of sexes, lack of child care), how one perceived oneself as an individual in society (social mobility and the importance of education), and interaction within the family (individualization) as well as with other people ('weak' ties in a modern city instead of strong ties in village life).

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