The Economics of Sin examines the definition and evolution of sin from the perspective of rational choice economics, yet is conscious of the limitations of such an approach. The author argues that because engaging in activities deemed to be sinful is an act of choice, it can therefore be subject to the logic of choice in the economic model.
The book considers the formation of religions, including the new age revival of 'wicca', as regulators of the quasi-market in sins, and goes on to appraise the role of specific sins such as lying, envy, jealousy, greed, lust, sloth, and waste in individual markets and in macroeconomic activity. Empirical evidence on issues such as cannibalism, capital punishment, addiction, adultery and prostitution is also explored. Samuel Cameron concludes that a large percentage of economic activity is intimately connected with forms of sin which are in some circumstances highly beneficial to the functioning of markets, particularly in the presence of market failure.
This innovative, interdisciplinary study of the institution of sin will be of enormous interest to a wide-ranging readership, including researchers and teachers of economics, sociology and theology. It will also be of importance for anthropologists and philosophers.
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