CONCLUSION--DIFFERENT LEVELS OF WELFARE
IN Part I we have shown how welfare analysis may be conducted at the Physical level, by assuming the quantities of economic welfare to be proportional to quantities of physical products. The Physical level of analysis is closely related to the labour-theory outlook which conceives the Economic Problem as the struggle between man and nature in which the success of man is to be measured by the quantity of his net physical product.
In Part II we have shown how welfare analysis may be conducted at the Subjective level, by assuming the quantities of economic welfare to be proportional to quantities of satisfaction of given and constant individuals' wants. The subjective level of analysis is closely related to the Scarcity approach which conceives the Economic Problem as the allocation of given resources to obtain the maximum satisfaction of given wants.
Finally, in Part III we have seen how the various criticisms directed towards welfare analysis at the purely subjective level may be ultimately reduced into the plea for supplementing the ethically neutral analysis of Economic welfare in the narrower sense with a study of the problem of Social welfare in the broader sense at the Ethical level. The approach to the welfare problem at the ethical level is, of course, related, not to the economic concept of relative value, but to the normative concept of absolute value. It is not concerned with the quantitative measurement of success in achieving given ends, but with the appraisal of the ethical quality of the ends themselves.
Looking back we shall see that these three levels of welfare analysis are not competitive but complementary; each has its rightful place in a comprehensive study of human welfare. The important thing is to be perfectly clear about the level of analysis at which we are conducting our argument and about its possibilities and limitations. Thus a logical gulf separates the narrower economic welfare analysis at the physical and the subjective levels with the broader problem of social welfare at the ethical level. The first two levels are capable of yielding scientific welfare propositions which are logically demonstrable and are concerned with
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Publication information: Book title: Theories of Welfare Economics. Contributors: Hla Myint - Author. Publisher: Harvard University Press. Place of publication: Cambridge, MA. Publication year: 1948. Page number: 229.
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