Darwiniana

History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Three cheers for economics

March 18th, 2006 · No Comments

It might backfire to suggest it, since Darwinists are already peddling a disguised economic ideology, but they might learn something from economists, as with this challenge to the myth of Economic Man. At least with economists they don’t take themselve so seriously as Darwinians. The reason is obvious: economics deals with real money.
Darwinism is ‘free phooey’, junk science propaganda, whose relevance to the present is marginal, except to legitimate cruetly, perhaps.
This amount of self-criticism is impossible in a Darwin-dominated theoretical environment, and yet there is a close resemblance to the construction of fictitious entities in both cases.

Like all revolutions in thought, this one began with anomalies, strange facts, odd observations that the prevailing wisdom could not explain. Casino gamblers, for instance, are willing to keep betting even while expecting to lose. People say they want to save for retirement, eat better, start exercising, quit smoking—and they mean it—but they do no such things. Victims who feel they’ve been treated poorly exact their revenge, though doing so hurts their own interests.

Such perverse facts are a direct affront to the standard model of the human actor—Economic Man—that classical and neoclassical economics have used as a foundation for decades, if not centuries. Economic Man makes logical, rational, self-interested decisions that weigh costs against benefits and maximize value and profit to himself. Economic Man is an intelligent, analytic, selfish creature who has perfect self-regulation in pursuit of his future goals and is unswayed by bodily states and feelings. And Economic Man is a marvelously convenient pawn for building academic theories. But Economic Man has one fatal flaw: he does not exist.

Tags: Critique of Evolutionary Economy · Evolution

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