Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics <p>The Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics (EJPE) is a peer-reviewed bi-annual academic journal located at <a href="">Erasmus University Rotterdam</a>. EJPE publishes research on the methodology, history, ethics, and interdisciplinary relations of economics.</p> Stichting Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics en-US Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 1876-9098 Cybersocialism and the Future of the Socialist Calculation Debate <p>In the long running debate about the desirability and feasibility of a planned socialist economy, Austrian economists proclaim victory. Drawing from Mises and Hayek, they stress that the problem of deciding the most economic methods for producing goods and services is not simply, as some early socialist responses suggested, a ‘computational’ one but is rather epistemological. Hence, they reject recent ‘cybersocialist’ claims that developments in computational technology offer potential for addressing the ‘socialist calculation problem’ famously formulated by Mises, long before the advent of computer technology. Yet this theoretical claim by Austrians hinges more than is recognised upon the capacity of rapidly evolving computational technologies and their potential applications. We highlight the need to re-appraise Austrian conclusions, attending closely to the distinction offered by Mises between supply and demand-side calculation. Recent cybersocialist proposals should be viewed as opening up several different avenues of research relating to different aspects of the long-running socialist calculation debate, including the inter-relationships between economic calculation, incentives and innovation.</p> Jan Philipp Dapprich Dan Greenwood Copyright (c) 2024 Jan Philipp Dapprich, Dan Greenwood 2024-07-06 2024-07-06 17 1 aa 10.23941/ejpe.v17i1.781 Liberalism’s Difficult Relationship with the Welfare State <p>This paper makes two related points. First, as liberals have started to realize that the welfare state is unable to deliver on egalitarian theories of justice, they have increasingly tried to dissociate their theories from the welfare state. Second, dissociating from the welfare state type of thinking is difficult for some liberal egalitarian theories such as John Rawls's theory of justice as his theory shares some of the same underlying thinking as found in the welfare state. For example, Rawls's understanding of universal citizenship and the difference principle resembles some of the aspects of the welfare state on how social equality and citizenship are tied to productivity and society as a venture of mutual cooperation. Consequently, liberals are caught in a difficult relationship where they can only partially move beyond the welfare state. Because of this affinity liberals should move beyond a Rawlsian framework, as Rawls's theory is difficult to completely dissociate from the welfare state.</p> Harald Borgebund Copyright (c) 2024 Harald Borgebund 2024-07-09 2024-07-09 17 1 aa 10.23941/ejpe.v17i1.778 Can We Design Spontaneity? Hayek, Design, and the Normative Appeal of Spontaneous Orders <p>Spontaneous orders are an essential concept in political theory and political economy. Such orders entail the impossibility of predicting outcomes in detail and hence controlling and directing social processes. Many phenomena characterizing contemporary societies can be depicted as spontaneous orders, from the housing and financial markets to the evolution of norms and trends. Yet, it is well known that not every spontaneous order is beneficial. Therefore, what form of political framework is compatible with recognizing such orders? In this article, I address this problem through the example of the work of Friedrich Hayek, a prominent liberal theorist of spontaneous orders. His work shows the necessity to theorize a government of spontaneous orders based on maximizing reasonable expectations and individual freedom. I finally emphasize what such a theory implies for political power, which is not abolished but should handle complexity appropriately.</p> Nathanaël Colin-Jaeger Copyright (c) 2024 Nathanaël Colin-Jaeger 2024-07-05 2024-07-05 17 1 aa 10.23941/ejpe.v17i1.736 The Plurality of Economic Classifications <p>The standard strategy involves evaluating whether economic classifications meet criteria derived from a general theory of natural kinds. The first objective of this article is to show the implementation of this strategy by various relevant authors. We argue that the standard strategy has failed due to its lack of a greater sensitivity to the role played by human interests in the design of different types of natural kinds. The second objective is to outline a new strategy for investigating economic classifications. Our departure from the standard strategy can be described as a shift from assessing economic classifications based on general theories of natural kinds to examining specific cases with the aim of theorizing about their design and application. The cases of the cost-of-living index and race are used to succinctly discuss the objectivity of economic classifications and implications for the relationship between science and democracy.</p> Cristian Frasser Gabriel Guzmán Copyright (c) 2024 Cristian Frasser, Gabriel Guzmán 2024-05-27 2024-05-27 17 1 aa 10.23941/ejpe.v17i1.780 Self-Control and Planning: A Reply to Williamson <p>In Timothy Luke Williamson’s commentary on my article “Micromanagement and Poor Self-Control,” Williamson casts my focus on managerial failures in certain cases of poor self-control “as an especially fruitful tool for addressing problems of poor self-control”; but he suggests that the cases of poor self-control that I view as cases of managerial failure <em>also</em> involve control by a foreign force, in accordance with the “foreign force paradigm,” which I claim is off base in the cases on which I focus. Although I cannot get into Williamson’s entire interesting and elaborate argument, I here question <em>The Weak Planning Perspective</em>, which plays a key role in Williamson’s critical response, with the aim of addressing the issues he raises and shedding some light on why and how our views diverge.</p> Chrisoula Andreou Copyright (c) 2024 Chrisoula Andreou 2024-07-11 2024-07-11 17 1 aa 10.23941/ejpe.v17i1.877 What’s so Hard about Hard Choices? <p>What, exactly, is so hard about hard choices? I suggest that what is distinctively hard about hard choices is that they present us with the <em>volitional</em> difficulty of putting ourselves behind an alternative and thereby making it true of ourselves that we have most reason to do one thing rather than another. Making it true through your commitments that, for instance, you have most reason to be a philosopher rather than a lawyer makes the choice between the careers hard. This answer is in contrast to that of Sergio Tenenbaum, who understands the hardness of a hard choice as a <em>deliberative</em> difficulty in specifying our alternatives and ends in ways that conform with certain proposed constraints of rationality. For Tenenbaum, the hardness of hard choices is not distinctive to such choices but is a general difficulty rational agents face when they need to further specify their alternatives and ends, even if the choice is easy.</p> Ruth Chang Copyright (c) 2024 Ruth Chang 2024-07-11 2024-07-11 17 1 aa 10.23941/ejpe.v17i1.872 The Hard Things about Hard Choices? A Reply to Chang Sergio Tenenbaum Copyright (c) 2024 Sergio Tenenbaum 2024-07-11 2024-07-11 17 1 aa 10.23941/ejpe.v17i1.876 Carbon Offsets and Concerns About Shifting Harms: A Reply to Elson <p>Luke Elson defends carbon offsetting on the basis that it is not morally objectionable to shift harms or risks around. As long as emitting and offsetting does not increase the overall harms or risks—and merely shifts them—compared to refraining from emitting, he suggests there is no injustice involved. I respond in several ways, suggesting that the time delay involved in offsetting can increase these risks but, regardless, there is a defensible default which could justify refraining from emitting, even when planning to offset.</p> Kian Mintz-Woo Copyright (c) 2024 Kian Mintz-Woo 2024-07-05 2024-07-05 17 1 aa 10.23941/ejpe.v17i1.870 Securing obligations: a reply to Hindriks <p>In his contribution to this special issue, Hindriks considers the Security Principle, an account of pro tanto obligations based on our account of reasons (Gunnemyr and Touborg 2023a). According to the Security Principle, you have a pro tanto obligation not to perform an action that makes a harm more secure. Hindriks raises two objections to this account. First, that it is too flexible; second, that it gives wrong verdicts when agents are robustly unwilling to act in a certain way. Here, we respond to Hindriks’ objections and argue that Hindriks’ account, the Threshold Principle, gives counterintuitive verdicts in preemption and low-probability cases.</p> Mattias Gunnemyr Caroline Torpe Touborg Copyright (c) 2024 Mattias Gunnemyr, Caroline Torpe Touborg 2024-07-05 2024-07-05 17 1 aa 10.23941/ejpe.v17i1.869 Managing Temptation: Comments on Chrisoula Andreou’s ‘Micromanagement and Poor Self-Control’ <p>In ‘Micromanagement and Poor Self-Control’, Chrisoula An-dreou argues that some cases of poor self-control are best understood as arising from poor self-management, in particular a kind of intrapersonal micromanagement. She argues that this furnishes us with a better understanding of those cases than the orthodox foreign force paradigm does (on which poor self-control amounts to diminished self-control). I argue that we cannot do without the foreign force paradigm to explain the cases that Andreou discusses. I suggest a both/and approach on which poor self-management and diminished self-control together explain poor self-control.</p> Timothy Luke Williamson Copyright (c) 2024 Timothy Luke Williamson 2024-06-29 2024-06-29 17 1 aa 10.23941/ejpe.v17i1.868 Progressive-Era Racism and Another 'Blaming the Victim' Narrative <p>This note reproduces a brief article by Thomas Nixon Carver, a leading Progressive Era American economist on what was then called the ‘Negro Question’. This virtually unknown piece represents a striking instance of blaming the victim for her/his condition which is to be found in the economic literature of the period.</p> Luca Fiorito Copyright (c) 2024 Luca Fiorito 2024-05-27 2024-05-27 17 1 aa 10.23941/ejpe.v17i1.812 The Hardness of the Practical Might <p>Incommensurability is often introduced with the small improvement argument. Options A and B are shown to be incommensurable when it is neither the case that A is preferred to (or better than) B nor that B is preferred to (or better than) A, but a slightly improved version of A (A+) is still not preferred to B. Since A+ is preferred to A, but not to B, we must also conclude that it is also true that A and B are not indifferent (or equally good). Such incommensurable options seem incompatible with orthodox decision theory (and various forms of value theory) but options that obey the pattern described by this argument seem ubiquitous: my choice between lemon tarts and eclairs at my favourite pastry shop might exhibit this pattern, but so could my choice between jobs or careers. In trying to accommodate incommensurable options within various frameworks, philosophers have argued that we must preserve certain central features of the phenomenon. Among them is the supposed “hardness” of at least some incommensurable options: even if perhaps one would need to be a rather anxious gourmet to describe the choice between lemon tarts and eclairs as hard, the choice among careers could potentially be agonizing. However, it is not clear in which way choices among incommensurable options are “hard,” nor how and whether such hardness poses problems for the various accounts of incommensurable choices. To complicate matters, the deontic verdicts for choices between incommensurable options seem to be relatively straightforward: one appealing view is that in such circumstances I am rationally permitted to choose any option that is not worse than another option. This paper aims to provide a sharper formulation of at least a version of the hardness problem, to argue that various theories of incommensurability fail to account for the hardness of some incommensurable choices, and to propose that the theory of instrumental rationality I develop in Rational Powers in Action, aided by a Kantian insight, promises to provide an adequate explanation of the hardness of choice among incommensurable options.</p> Sergio Tenenbaum Copyright (c) 2024 Sergio Tenenbaum 2024-07-11 2024-07-11 17 1 aa 10.23941/ejpe.v17i1.797 Micromanagement and Poor Self-Control <p>According to a familiar and entrenched philosophical paradigm, poor self-control amounts to diminished control by the self. While some cases of poor self-control may fit this paradigm, many paradigmatic cases of poor self-control, including cases involving individually trivial effects, do not; they are better understood as cases in which the self controls behavior, but does so poorly. As such, philosophical research on poor self-control needs to go beyond research aimed at locating and empowering the self, and into research on what it takes for selves that are already in control to qualify as managerial successes rather than managerial failures. This article focuses on certain pitfalls associated with micromanagement and on the paradoxical connection between micromanagement and poor self-control in cases involving individually trivial effects. The article ends by advancing an approach to managerial success that provides a promising route to avoiding micromanagerial pitfalls while also promoting responsible resilient agency.</p> Chrisoula Andreou Copyright (c) 2024 Chrisoula Andreou 2024-05-27 2024-05-27 17 1 aa 10.23941/ejpe.v17i1.788 Carbon Offsets and Shifting Harms <div class="page" title="Page 1"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p>Carbon offsets either remove greenhouse gases from the air or prevent emissions thereof. They face questions both economic (is ‘net zero’ really reached?) and moral. I defend the moral permissibility of off-sets. They likely shift climate harms around, but that need not be unjust—and in any case we cannot avoid doing that.</p> </div> </div> </div> Luke Elson Copyright (c) 2024 Luke Elson 2024-07-05 2024-07-05 17 1 aa 10.23941/ejpe.v17i1.790 Collective Doings in Progress and the Attribution Problem <p>We often encounter situations in which an undesirable outcome is brought about through a series or collection of seemingly inconsequential actions. This phenomenon, referred to as the inefficacy paradox, occurs both intrapersonally and collectively. Paradoxically, while we have good reason to avoid such patterns of action, there appears to be no compelling reason to abstain from any of the individual actions constituting such a pattern given its trivial impact. This paper scrutinizes Chrisoula Andreou's prominent endeavor to resolve the inefficacy paradox in both the intrapersonal and the collective context by utilizing their structural similarity. While her approach may prove successful in intrapersonal cases, the applicability of the proposed solution to collective cases is, I argue, ultimately limited. This is due to a fundamental dissimilarity between these two kinds of cases, which I lay out in the paper. This insight may also shed light on the transferability of other proposed solutions to the inefficacy paradox from the intrapersonal to the collective context.</p> Tessa Supèr Copyright (c) 2024 Tessa Supèr 2024-06-29 2024-06-29 17 1 aa 10.23941/ejpe.v17i1.789 The Problem of Collective Harm: A Threshold Solution <p>Many harms are collective: they are due to several individual actions that are as such harmless. At least in some cases, it seems impermissible to contribute to such harms, even if individual agents do not make a difference. The Problem of Collective Harm is the challenge of explaining why. I argue that, if the action is to be permissible, the probability of making a difference to harm must be small enough. This in turn means that both the probability of harm and the probability of avoiding harm have to remain below the corresponding threshold probabilities. I compare this threshold probability account to proposals that revolve around difference-making, NESS causation and security dependence, and I argue that they fail for reasons of scope. For instance, a moral principle that invokes NESS causation prohibits so many actions that compliance with it would have a stifling effect on human life.</p> Frank Hindriks Copyright (c) 2024 Benjamin Mullins; Frank Hindriks 2024-06-29 2024-06-29 17 1 aa 10.23941/ejpe.v17i1.798 Intra/Inter Paradox <p>This paper addresses the following paradox. (P1) It is permitted to defect in intrapersonal dilemmas as long as there is a solution to achieve one’s long-term goal. (P2) It is not permitted to defect in interpersonal dilemmas, even when there is a similar solution to achieve a collective goal. (P3) There is no relevant difference between intrapersonal and interpersonal dilemmas. At least one of the three propositions must go. In this paper, I show how (P1) is supported by Chrisoula Andreou’s work, and offer a defense of (P2). This has surprising implications. The aim will not be to solve the paradox, but rather to show there is one that we should attend to in the first place.</p> Jan Willem Wieland Copyright (c) 2024 Jan Willem Wieland 2024-06-29 2024-06-29 17 1 aa 10.23941/ejpe.v17i1.786 Reflections on the 2023 Nobel Memorial Prize Awarded to Claudia Goldin Nancy Folbre Copyright (c) 2024 Nancy Folbre 2024-06-29 2024-06-29 17 1 aa 10.23941/ejpe.v17i1.865 Between Worlds: Daniel Ellsberg (1931–2023) <p>Daniel Ellsberg was a multifaced personality who belonged to multiple worlds: academia, the military, and, in the second part of his life, political activism. This essay reviews Ellsberg’s analysis of decision-making under uncertainty, which has been highly influential in economics and reflects his diverse experiences.</p> Ivan Moscati Carlo Zappia Copyright (c) 2024 Ivan Moscati, Carlo Zappia 2024-06-29 2024-06-29 17 1 aa 10.23941/ejpe.v17i1.862 Obituary: Robert Solow and Economic Modeling Roger E. Backhouse Copyright (c) 2024 Roger E. Backhouse 2024-06-29 2024-06-29 17 1 aa 10.23941/ejpe.v17i1.863 Review of Ingrid Robeyns’ Limitarianism: The Case Against Extreme Wealth, UK: Allen Lane, 2024, xxv + 303 pp. Mario Damborenea Sieb Brouwer Copyright (c) 2024 Mario Damborenea, Sieb Brouwer 2024-07-05 2024-07-05 17 1 aa 10.23941/ejpe.v17i1.871 Review of Michael Otsuka’s How to Pool Risks Across Generations: The Case for Collective Pensions. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2023, viii + 109 pp. Benjamin Ferguson Copyright (c) 2024 Benjamin Ferguson 2024-06-29 2024-06-29 17 1 aa 10.23941/ejpe.v17i1.864 What is Owed to the Losers of the Energy Transition? Rutger Lazou Copyright (c) 2024 Rutger Lazou 2024-05-24 2024-05-24 17 1 –aa –aa 10.23941/ejpe.v17i1.838 The Challenge of Choosing Well Chrisoula Andreou Tessa Super Annalisa Costella Copyright (c) 2024 Chrisoula Andreou, Tessa Super, Annalisa Costella 2024-05-27 2024-05-27 17 1 aa 10.23941/ejpe.v17i1.849