Does Profit-Seeking Rule Out Love? Evidence (or Not) from Economics and Law

Many believe that firms are driven to maximize profits, and therefore are not allowed to take actions that would benefit their workers, communities, or the environment if these actions would reduce profits even slightly. This essay shows that this belief is supported neither by sound economic evidence and arguments, nor by United States statutory and case law. The roots of this belief are, instead, to be found in a centuries-old desire of economists to make our discipline look like Newtonian physics. Among scholars of law, both misinformation and the use of University of Chicago-style economics have contributed to the belief's popularity. Among scholars and the public alike, the dualistic "love or money" view is appealing because of its simplicity and congruence with cultural gender norms. Reexamining the evidence, rather than adhering to common ideologies, this essay offers an unconventional analysis of corporate behavior and commodification.


Keywords:
Issue Date:
2010-09
Publication Type:
Working or Discussion Paper
PURL Identifier:
http://purl.umn.edu/179089
Series Statement:
GDAE Working Papers Series
10-06




 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-08-27

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