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Moving Beyond Self-InterestPerspectives from Evolutionary Biology, Neuroscience, and the Social Sciences$
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Stephanie L. Brown, R. Michael Brown, and Louis A. Penner

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195388107

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195388107.001.0001

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A New View of UtilityMaximizing “Optimal Investment”

A New View of UtilityMaximizing “Optimal Investment”

15 A New View of UtilityMaximizing “Optimal Investment”
Moving Beyond Self-Interest

Dylan M. Smith

Stephanie L. Brown

Mary L. Rigdon

Oxford University Press

In this brief essay, we review benefits of the caregiving system for health and well-being, and argue that these benefits are not reflected in economic models of how to maximize utility. We then describe how the caregiving system highlights the tension between appetitive motives versus maintaining deeper relationships, a sense of purpose, meaning, etc, and point out how this tension is reflected in existing debates within economics. We discuss how new discoveries about the caregiving system can be used to inform these debates, and conclude with a discussion of some potential practical implications.

Keywords:   motivation, caregiving, caregiving system, economics, utility, appetitive motives, relationships

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