Press Release: Nelson, Economics for Humans

September 22, 2006
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The essence of economics is to provide goods and services for human well-being and survival. Yet, many see it as something less altruistic: a cold, heartless machine. Given that we govern our economic world, is it possible to imbue it with a heart and a soul? In short, can we make economics more human?

In Economics for Humans, Julie A. Nelson discredits the deeply-embedded idea that our economic world should somehow be separate from our concerns for ethics and personal relationships. The major obstacle to a more considerate, equitable, and, indeed, more productive economic world, she argues, can be found in the prevailing notion of the economy as a machine. This idea, first popularized by Adam Smith, has blinded us to the qualities that make us work and care for one another—qualities that also make businesses thrive and grow. We can wed our desire for profits with our justifiable concerns for the environment and general social welfare. But we can only do so if we begin to think of economics not as a robot-like machine, but a living, beating heart that keeps the body running, while serving as an emblem of compassion and care.
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