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Time Preference, Growth and Civilization: Economic Insights into the Workings of Society

Vol. 5, No 2a, 2012

Alexandru Pătruti, PhD Candidate

Bucharest University of Economic Science Department of International Business and Economics

Faculty of International Business and Economics

TIME PREFERENCE, GROWTH AND CIVILIZATION: ECONOMIC INSIGHTS INTO THE WORKINGS OF SOCIETY

6, Piata Romana, 1st district,

010374, Romania

 +4.021.319.19.00

E-mail: le_peru@yahoo.com

 

Mihai Vladimir Topan, PhD Lecturer

Bucharest University of Economic Science Department of International Business and Economics

Faculty of International Business and Economics

6, Piata Romana, 1st district,

010374, Romania

 +4.021.319.19.00

E-mail:  topan_vlad@yahoo.com

 

ABSTRACT.Economic concepts are not mere ivory tower abstractions disconnected from reality. To a certain extent they can help interdisciplinary endeavours at explaining various non-economic realities (the family, education, charity, civilization, etc.). Following the insights of Hoppe (2001), we argue that the economic concept of social time preference can provide insights – when interpreted in the proper context – into the degree of civilization of a nation/region/city/group of people. More specifically, growth and prosperity backed by the proper institutional context lead, ceteris paribus, to a diminishing of the social rate of time preference, and therefore to more future-oriented behaviours compatible with a more ambitious, capital intensive structure of production, and with the accumulation of sustainable cultural patterns; on the other hand, improper institutional arrangements which hamper growth and prosperity lead to an increase in the social rate of time preference, to more present-oriented behaviours and, ultimately, to the erosion of culture.

 

Received: July, 2012

1st Revision: September, 2012

Accepted: Desember, 2012

 

JEL Classification:B53, D90, E21, E43, O10, O16, O43.

Keywords: time preference, social time preference, the interest rate, savings, growth, present-orientation, future-orientation.