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The Nuclear Family and Antagonism Towards Markets

7 Pages Posted: 24 Nov 2004 Last revised: 17 Jan 2011

Michael C. Jensen

SSRN; Harvard Business School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI); Harvard University - Accounting & Control Unit

William H. Meckling

Simon School, University of Rochester (Deceased)

Date Written: June 1, 1977

Abstract

Why do we so often find the press carrying glowing stories of the benefits derived from governmental programs such as urban renewal (often-times even when they are in the process of failing miserably)? In view of this, why are we so seldom treated to glowing reports by the press about how a housing developer, for example, has improved the standard of living of 5,000 families by planning and completing a new subdivision of 5,000 homes? - a feat made no less remarkable (as compared to urban renewal) through its accomplishment by voluntary exchange!

Or to put the issue in its starkest form: Why is it that the public at large is so basically antagonistic towards markets in general? There exists in many, if not most people, a deep seated belief that man should not be motivated by monetary rewards. This belief is reflected in many cultural traditions, one of which is called the Golden Rule. We believe a major element in the determination of these attitudes is the structure of the family, in particular the way in which we raise children and the reflection of these values in religious dogma.

Keywords: Family, values, markets, Golden Rule, press

JEL Classification: H30, H31, Z00

Suggested Citation

Jensen, Michael C. and Meckling, William H., The Nuclear Family and Antagonism Towards Markets (June 1, 1977). Harvard Business School NOM Unit Working Paper No. 1977. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=624566 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.624566

Michael C. Jensen (Contact Author)

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Harvard University - Accounting & Control Unit ( email )

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William H. Meckling

Simon School, University of Rochester (Deceased)

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