Economic Evil and the Other

Carl David Mildenberger

Table of Contents


The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, it proposes an idiosyncratically economic definition of evil. An agent performs an economically evil action if he intentionally harms (or causes others to harm) another agent materially, if he likewise materially loses from this action, and if there would have been a materially more rewarding course of action open to him. Second, it argues how we can classify different theories of economic evil and different economically evil actions based on an analysis of the relationship between the harming agent and the harmed Other. Doing so, the essay highlights how one particular kind of economic evil has yet to receive proper attention. This kind of economic evil is characterized by a special relationship of agent and Other. Namely, the agent only cares about the Other as far as the Other’s material payoff is concerned – and only to the extent that he makes sure that it is negative. The paper also cites evidence of such behavior.


  • economic evil
  • agent and Other
  • evil action
  • pure spite

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