This book studies the interfaces of ethics, economics, and politics. Public policy issues involve all three of these subjects. Although it may be seen as suggesting the nucleus of a joint university course, the book is accessible to and should interest all those concerned with political decisions. Any such decision needs a criterion for judging whether one action or outcome is better than another. Even a dictator must to some extent be concerned about the economic
welfare of the citizens; and a democratic government more so. But how is a person's economic welfare to be judged? Furthermore, any political decision affects the economic welfare of different people differently. How then is the welfare of a community to be judged? This is an ethical question.
Underlying any coherent public policy there must be a relevant moral code.
I.M.D. Little is Emeritus Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford. He was made an Honorary Fellow of New College, Oxford in 1999. During his career he has held fellowships at All Souls College, Oxford, Trinity College, Oxford, and from 1971-7 was Professor of Economics of Underdeveloped Countries at the University of Oxford. Professor Little made his mark on theoretical economics with A Critique of Welfare Economics first published in 1950 by OUP.
Introduction ; PART I: ECONOMICS AND PHILOSOPHY ; 1. Personal Utility and Welfare ; 2. Collective Utility and Welfare ; 3. Welfare Economics ; PART II: POLITICS AND PHILOSOPHY ; 4. The Role of the State ; 5. Utilitarianism: Theory and Application ; 6. Utilitarianism: Justice and Equality ; 7. Contractarianism ; 8. Communitarianism ; PART III: ECONOMICS AND POLITICS ; 9. Games, Conventions, and Public Goods ; 10. Positive Political Economy ; 11. Normative Political Economy ; PART IV: THE PRINCIPLES OF PUBLIC POLICY ; 12. The Principles of Public Policy