The philosophy by which the purpose of government was the maximization of the sum of utility, defined in terms of pleasure and pain, in the community as a whole. It was not hedonistic in so far as pleasure could include, for instance, the satisfaction of helping others. The purpose of the government was to ensure the 'greatest happiness of the greatest number'. It implied that utility could be measured and interpersonal comparisons made. Its chief advocate was Jeremy Bentham.
|Reference: The Penguin Dictionary of Economics, 3rd edt.|