Rational Economic You
"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest." - Adam Smith (The Wealth of Nations:1776)
Altough not coined by Adam Smith, the idea of the 'Rational Economic Man' is rooted in his work. The idea is that humans make the right (rational) choice, but their ability to do so is hindered by any outside (typically state) intervention.
In contemporary neoliberal thought, Daniel Defoe's novel Robinson Crusoe is seen as a model of the Rational Economic Man idea. In the novel Crusoe makes the right choices that allow him to turn a situation of disaster into one of huge profit, unburdened as he is by any type of regulation outside of the confines of his environment.
What do you think? In preparation for the next class, take this short quiz to see what kind of decisions you might make in a shipwreck situation. Do you fit the 'Rational Economic Man' definition or do other factors influence your decision making?
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