Utility Versus Self-Sacrificing Love

Jonathan E. Leightner

According to Jonathan E. Leightner, the dominant school of economics (Neoclassical) teaches that people maximize their own personal utility. Furthermore, any given action should be taken if it increases my utility without decreasing the utility of others. Thus utility maximization is the core of both descriptive and normative economics. However, the Christian God, as described in Philippians 2: 5-8, does not maximize utility. Furthermore, we are called to be like our God—to love others so much that we are willing to sacrifice for them. Christian teachers need to qualify their teaching of utility maximization in order to avoid unwittingly encouraging students to be self-centered. Mr. Leightner is Professor of Economics at Augusta State University.

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Last Updated: April 2, 2003
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