the odd homo economicus

comprendiendo-el-verdadero-valor-del-dolarHomo Economicus sounds urbane but is really more of a hick.  He wears blue suits, but disapproves of civilizing constructs like the law.  You could safely call him provincial and nativist.

But the economic man isn’t just a rube; he is really the dominant, everyman figure in contemporary life.  Perhaps it is the slick exterior which has convinced us that Homo Economicus – you could also call him theamericanmba – is the great model figure we are to emulate in our own lives.  Slickness and every last economics department in every university the world over for the past half century.

This is a reductive view.  A life well lived draws from other wells – not just the money and status well, and Economic Man in this view is an oddity.

From an article in the mouthpiece of Homo Economicus the Economist:

“SOVEREIGN in tastes, steely-eyed and point-on in perception of risk, and relentless in maximisation of happiness.” This was Daniel McFadden’s memorable summation, in 2006, of the idea of Everyman held by economists. That this description is unlike any real person was Mr McFadden’s point. The Nobel prizewinning economist at the University of California, Berkeley, wryly termed homo economicus “a rare species”. In his latest paper* he outlines a “new science of pleasure”, in which he argues that economics should draw much more heavily on fields such as psychology, neuroscience and anthropology. He wants economists to accept that evidence from other disciplines does not just explain those bits of behaviour that do not fit the standard models. Rather, what economists consider anomalous is the norm. Homo economicus, not his fallible counterpart, is the oddity.

The Debt to Pleasure, The Economist

via Reason & Existenz