WELFARE ECONOMICS

Economic and Non Economic or General Welfare

A distinction may be drawn between economic   welfare and general welfare. An   individual’s  welfare may relate to his physical well being, spiritual well being or   economic well being The concept  of welfare according to Robbins embraces   any states of mind some of a merely sensual some of  more spiritual nature Gut he class economic will not be one of thorn. Obviously economics is 0th concerned with physical or spiritual well being It is only concerned with that aspect of an individual’s well being  which is derived from economic goods and   services.  In Spigot’s words The range of our inquiry has become restricted to that   art of social welfare that can be brought directly or indirectly into relation with  the   measuring rod of money. This part of welfare may be called economic welfare.

Welfare refers to a state of mind or, as Pious says The elements of welfare are states of consciousness This is no doubt a subjective concept but it can be imparted an element of objectivity by linking individual welfare to individual choice so that his welfare map is his reference map. For instance if he chooses apples rather than oranges he would increase his welfare by consuming apples rather than ranges. A person’s choice is determined by a large number of variables some of which are economic and others not. Welfare economics ignores the non economic variables We might say that Connecticut welfare refers to satisfaction derived from the cums option of economic goods whereas general welfare refers to the satisfaction derived from both economic and non economic-goods. But the two types f satisfactions are merged in a man’s mind and cannot be clearly distinguished. Professor Little explains this by a metaphor thus The utilitarians imagined the mind to be like a well of known depth into which parcels of satisfaction, duly labelled economic or political or   religious, were . thrown  On the later analysis it is imagined that the mind is like a well of unknown depth partly filled with water the level of which could be altered by

turning on various taps labelled economic, political  etc. Once the water is in the well there is no way of saying which tap it came from and also it is impossible to say how much water there is in the well. Hence economic and non economic welfare are not easily distinguishable As Professor Cannon says there is no precise line between economic and non economic satisfaction and, therefore  province of economics cannot be marked out by a row of posts or a fence like a political territory Of a landed property It is possible that one economic causes affect economic welfare and total or general welfare differently But there is a strong presumption that qualitative conclusions about effects on economic welfare hold good also of effects upon total welfare.