The Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics seeks to advance teaching and research on ethical issues in public life. It is integral to the Center's core mission that we not only produce ground-breaking research but also endeavor to spread it, engage in public discourse, and translate our academic outputs to various constituents on campus and beyond. 

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For the Record

March 15, 2018

‘For the Record’ is a feature where our Fellows-in-Residence and Graduate Fellows have a chance to present their research ideas informally, reflect on their experience at the Center, or report on Center events.

This month's For the Record comes from Fellow-in-Residence Åsbjørn Melkevik, whose research focuses on social justice within market capitalist societies.

Interdisciplinarity with Economics Is a Necessity
by Åsbjørn Melkevik

“I have been increasingly moved to wonder,” once said Frank Knight, “whether my job is a job or a racket, whether economists, and particularly economic theorists, may not be in a position that Cicero, citing Cato, ascribed to the augurs of Rome.”1 

It is common to muse over the perils of thinking like an economist. There is, we are told, something missing when we only weigh the costs and benefits of the options before us, and then choose the one that will lead to the greatest utility. There is an ethics of “expediency,” of “calculation,” as Jacob Viner noted, in the field of economics, which troubles many philosophers today. There is indeed a widespread sentiment that we should not think like economists. I disagree. We should instead be concerned with the perils of not thinking like an economist. Read more