chapter  8
Towards a virtuous public finance
Pages 18

This chapter examines the ethics of public finance in a eudaimonistic context. It considers the meaning of an approach to public finance that takes as its aim what the ancient Greek thinkers understood as the goal of the well-lived life, eudaimonia. For the Cynics and Stoics, a eudaimonistic existence was wholly a matter of virtue. For the Epicureans, it was a highly qualified sort of pleasure that was also informed by virtue. The chapter poses and addresses the question, "What does a virtuous public finance consist of?" Moreover, virtue in this sense is to be understood in terms of several of the above-listed connotations. It is important to remember once again that the ancient Hellenistic philosophers/statesmen themselves had very little to say about the state and public policy itself, let alone public finance. For the Hellenistic thinkers, human flourishing could never be confused with utility maximization centered on consumption. They all believed it consisted in freedom and friendship.