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There is ample behavioral evidence to support the idea that altruism is a fundamental characteristic of human nature just as much as selfishness.

However, an ethical argument doesn't depend upon appeals to psychology, it depends upon fundamental notions of equity, compassion and fairness.

Just because the utilitarian measures are popular these days doesn't mean things have to stay that way. What I'm arguing is that the fact that these measures of "success" are used without realizing that they are the unacknowledged assumptions is what needs to be considered.

Thus using GDP as a measure of anything having to do with policy decisions creates a framework which leads to certain decisions inevitably.

You don't cite any evidence that the better level of social services in Europe is a disguised effort to promote the interests of the powerful.

I would argue that a history of 300 years of wars led in the post WWII era to an understanding that there was a need for a new social contract. It's worked out fairly well. Europe has had a generally good level of economic development, including bringing along some very poor states. It has also resisted the most extreme distortions of wealth and power that have infected the US.

What are the big failures that you see that make you so cynical?

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Sun Mar 1st, 2009 at 10:45:59 AM EST
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