Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility

  title={Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility},
  author={John C. Harsanyi},
  journal={Journal of Political Economy},
  pages={309 - 321}
  • J. Harsanyi
  • Published 1 August 1955
  • Journal of Political Economy
I T HE naive concept of social welfare as a sum of intuitively measurable and comparable individual cardinal utilities has been found unable to withstand the methodological criticism of the Pareto school. Professor Bergson2 has therefore recommended its replacement by the more general concept of a social welfare function, defined as an arbitrary mathematical function of economic (and other social) variables, of a form freely chosen according to one's personal ethical (or political) value… 
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