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8-9 June 2011

International conference
Market and Happiness
Do economic interactions crowd out
civic virtues and human capabilities

UniversitÓ degli Studi di Milano - Bicocca,
Auditorium degli Arcimboldi, Ed U12, via Vizzola 5

The aim of the conference is to elicit contributions on the nexus between well-being,  human capabilities, civil virtues  and the market as the basic economic institution. “Public happiness” (pubblica felicità) is one of the key issues of the Italian and Latin classical economic tradition, that derives from Aristotle  and civic humanism, where markets are considered an essential element of civil life,  involving mutual assistance, reciprocity, and a general climate favourable to civil virtues. Today, however, communitarians and virtue ethics philosophers are instead critical toward ordinary market relations. They cherish a suggestion for society to protect itself and preserve higher human capabilities from what is considered an invasion from market forces. On a similar line of thought, much of the economic and psychological literature on intrinsic motivation harbour deep doubts about the virtuous or ethical nature of market interactions and on the kind of ‘cooperation’ resulting from market interactions. Is it possible to imagine and describe market as a domain of interactions that can be at the same time moral and mutually advantageous (both in instrumental and intrinsic sense)? What this question suggests is a new  approach providing  a different way of thinking about markets and about the institutions, social norms and attitudes that make the market’s working possible. Normal economic dealings are not necessarily the offspring of simple greed, competition or self interest, and they may be compatible, or perhaps also require,  a web of social rules, norms, attitudes and motivations that only a narrow view of economics may have expelled from  the understanding of the market functioning.
The conference will explore the many dimensions of this tension between market interactions and human capabilities, where different views are subjected to close scrutiny and criticism.
Over 130 paper have applied for  this conference and notwithstanding a rigorous selection process , they will allow to have a wide interdisciplinary discussion on the state of the art about our main subject and related  themes.

Registration at: Official Conference website



  Viale dell'Innovazione, 10 - Edificio U9 - 20126 Milano Note Legali