Democratic Distributive Justice

By Ross Zucker | Go to book overview

10
Endogenous Preferences and
Economic Community

With the many fine recipes … in the … peanut publications, it is easy to find one that will please…. With these few suggestions, it is hoped the billion pound peanut crop will be utilized.1

George Washington Carver, The Peanut Journal

In theory, the endogenous formation of preferences by and within the system of economic relations helps to form a dimension of community in the economy because it orients consumer behavior toward a vital purpose of association — the preservation and expansion of capital.2 The question now is whether this logic has a real-world counterpart in the causal processes of actual capital-based market systems. If we can identify the actual processes of endogenous formation of preferences, then the logic of the previous chapter suggests that it would imply the existence of a dimension of community in the economy. This chapter undertakes an extended analysis of endogenous formation of preferences and elaborates the concrete workings of the process in order to demonstrate the presence of community in capital-based market systems.

____________________
1
George Washington Carver, letter to the editor of The Peanut Journal, December 15, 1931, cited in Kremer 1987, pp. 118–119.
2
Although the term “endogenous formation of preferences” connotes the internal formation of preferences within the individual, its meaning is different in economics and political science. In these disciplines it means social formation of preferences. As I use the term, it signifies a particular type of social formation where preferences are formed by and within a system of individuals. This definition does not preclude that inner influences may play a role in the formation of preferences, but it defines the locus of possible influences more broadly than that.

-188-

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