Humanistic Economics

Humanistic economics is a school of economic theory identified with E. F. Schumacher. Proponents argue for "humanity-first" economic theories as opposed to the ideas in mainstream economic theory which they see as putting financial gain before people.

Call a thing immoral or ugly, soul-destroying or a degradation of man, a peril to the peace of the world or to the well-being of future generations; as long as you have not shown it to be uneconomic you have not really questioned its right to exist, grow, and prosper. —E. F. Schumacher

Humanistic economics has been defined as

a perspective that leans heavily on humanistic psychology, moral philosophy, humanistic sociology, and last but not least, on common sense. In more formal terms, contemporary humanistic economics seeks to both describe, analyze and critically assess prevailing socio-economic institutions and policies, and provide normative (value) guidelines on how to improve them in terms of human (not merely "economic") welfare. Basic human needs, human rights, human dignity, human equality, freedom, economic democracy and economic sustainability provide the framework.

Humanistic economics focuses on human economic activity as being social and altruistically constructed, not just individualistically and selfishly derived. The importance of the ethical individual living within a vibrant local community, not merely as a lone wolf nor as a consumer of mass culture and production on a global scale, is often stressed. The importance of accounting for externalities (items not always put on the economic balance sheet like pollution or loss of biodiversity) are other key concepts.

Famous quotes containing the word economics:

    There is no such thing as a free lunch.
    —Anonymous.

    An axiom from economics popular in the 1960s, the words have no known source, though have been dated to the 1840s, when they were used in saloons where snacks were offered to customers. Ascribed to an Italian immigrant outside Grand Central Station, New York, in Alistair Cooke’s America (epilogue, 1973)