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From a hedonic to a eudaemonic economy

Hedonism is a moral doctrine that identifies good with pleasure, especially with sensory and immediate pleasure. On the other hand, eudaimonism has the characteristic of being a justification of everything that serves to achieve happiness. Moreover, hedonism searches to satisfy individual and egoistic pleasure, meanwhile eudaimonism promotes community well-being according to the principles of a regenerative economy.

Professor Eric Beinhocker (2019), in the presentation “New economic and moral foundations for the Anthropocene” organized by the University of Oxford, quoted Fredric Jameson: “Someone once said that it is easiest to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism." Beinhocker presented a graph in which the problems of the current economic system are proposed, concluding that a new model is needed, a eudaemonic model in which human needs can be satisfied, but is at the same time sustainable for the planet, which presents a trade-off in the current model.

Beinhocker, E. (2020). The failure of the current system.

Francis Edgeworth, quoted by Beinhocker (2019), said in 1881 that “The first principle of economics is that every agent behaves only by self-interest (…). The conception of man as a pleasure machine may justify and facilitate the employment of mechanical terms and mathematical reasoning in social science." Thus, to achieve the transition to a eudaemonic economy we must analyze the bases of the current system: We must focus on moral philosophy, behavior theory, and economic theory and not so much on political and economic ideologies.

A eudemonic economy

Beinhocker indicates that the economy is a complex and adaptable system that should follow the principles of a regenerative economy. In this direction, Uygar Özesmi (Ashoka, 2020) advocates a hyper-diversified and waste-free circular economy. His ideal is "an economy that is like the Amazon rainforest, that is in harmony with nature." In the same way, it affirms that the Reduced economic activity might be unsustainable, but the positive environmental impact brought more awareness about the need to clean up our atmosphere. The economy was built around a single industry, so now we must rebuild it so that it is better for people, for the environment, that it is sustainable and fair.

Professor Eric Beinhocker's conclusion is that the goal of economics is not to maximize consumption or GDP growth, but it is to solve problems by creating value. Growth can be seen as creating new and better solutions. Solving complex problems requires cooperation, so prosperous economies would be those that facilitate cooperation, with inclusion, justice, and trust the main bases of growth, with the intention of protecting the environment. This is the eudaemonic economy model that he proposes.


Ashoka. (2020). Restoring the economy and environment together. Available at: <> [Accessed 28/12/2020].

Beinhocker, E. (2019). New economic and moral foundations for the Anthropocene. Available at: <> [Accessed 26/12/2020].

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