- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press (February 23, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0199289816
- ISBN-13: 978-0199289813
- Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.8 x 6.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,148,739 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Economy of Esteem: An Essay on Civil and Political Society
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"In The Economy of Esteem, Geoffrey Brennan and Philip Pettit aim to restore attention to a fact that has been substantially neglected by an influential school of social theory for over a century....Brennan and Pettit's account of esteem thus prompts the perhaps unexpected realization that there is a connection between the theory of aggregate behavior and the problem of other minds."--Ethics
About the Author
Philip Pettit teaches political theory and philosophy at Princeton University, where is William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics. Prior to taking up this post in 2002, he had been at the Australia National University, Canberra for many years. Irish by background and training, he has previously held positions at University College, Dublin; Trinity Hall, Cambridge; and Bradford University. His interests include the philosophy of cognitive and social science as well as moral and political theory.
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Top Customer Reviews
The second part is concerned with how an economy of esteem operates, and employs some accessible modeling techniques (and too many words). At the basis of the economy of esteem is a feedback loop: the people who get esteem are those who do well relative to the prevailing standards of performance, which are in turn determined by the performance in the economy. This makes for academically interesting multiplier effects. Other exciting issues arise when esteem is linked to the analysis of social norms. The authors show how esteem incentives can sustain multiple equilibria in this context. The chapters on the effect of publicity of individual performances on esteem incentives and on performance standards are well worth reading
The last part launches ideas on how to harness the forces of esteem for the social good. This section is a bit disappointing: it is mostly abstract and the few concrete ideas are rather obvious (e.g. make public individual records of tax evasion to name and shame). To be fair, the authors concede this in several instances, but by then I had gotten enthusiastic enough to expect a bit more.
The lack of empirical backup hampers the whole book: the abstract analysis is mainly supported by ad hoc thought examples, most of them in the realm of academia, which are interesting but not necessarily convincing. Thus, the authors give us a conceptually rich research agenda rather than a convincing theory. But since they are right that the topic has been neglected for a long time, this may be as good as it gets for the moment.