I, The Absolute

Human Nature, Economics, et al

Posted by itheabsolute on March 14, 2005

Behavioral economics has been Nobel Prize winning topic in the recent past.

For long, it was thought that man was rational. Only war was irrational and religion and love were a-rational. But when it came to economic decisions, it was considered that man made decisions which were in the best interest of self and which maximized the value/profit.

Some examples of a-rational/irrational aspects of economic behavior

a. tipping a waiter, when you know you are not going to return to the restaurant or the hotel again
b. giving alms
c. buying a shirt to “oblige” a salesman or because you are too shy to say no
d. spending on credit cards beyond means
e. gambling
f. alcoholism

Human nature is the bottom line of entire knowledge. As long as we try to segregate knowledge into disciplines and pursue studying them separately, we are bound to fail to explain various questions facing us, including some of the above.

Some more examples of the questions troubling us are – not being able to reach 100 % efficiency; treating symptoms rather than causes (treat fever with anti-pyretic whereas the cause could be something else), getting clueless about global warming, etc

Post Scriptum:
a. I do not contend the viewpoint that for the sake of ease, clarity and focus, segregation of knowledge into disciplines is important.
b. I also won’t mind a debate on “whether knowledge is possible”.
c. Further reading on the topics: The Turning Point by Frijof Capra / Against the Gods by Peter Bernstein
d. Referred dictionary meaning of ‘man’: The generic use of the word to refer to any human being / any living or extinct member of the family Hominidae

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