Kenneth Boulding as a Moral Scientist

13 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2011

See all articles by John B. Davis

John B. Davis

University of Amsterdam; Marquette University

Date Written: January 10, 2011


Kenneth Boulding’s AEA presidential address argued that economics is a moral science. His view derived from his general systems theory thinking, his three systems view of human society, and his early contributions to evolutionary economics. Boulding’s argument that economics could not be value-free should be distinguished from other well-known views of economics as a moral science, such as Gunnar Myrdal’s. This paper discusses the development and nature of Boulding’s thinking about economics as a moral science in the larger context of his thinking.

Keywords: Boulding, moral science, general systems theory, three systems view, evolutionary economics

JEL Classification: A13, B31, B52

Suggested Citation

Davis, John B. and Davis, John B., Kenneth Boulding as a Moral Scientist (January 10, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

John B. Davis (Contact Author)

Marquette University ( email )

P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881
United States

University of Amsterdam ( email )


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