Robot Economicus

Adam Smith economics can’t be seen as value-neutral driven. Modern Economists misread the father of economics by either not reading The Theory of Moral Sentiments or by considering it independent from his other book, slightly more famous. Oddly enough, the so-called father of economics gave birth to a child that didn’t share the Scottish Enlightenment’s DNA, for Smith’s reasoning was embedded on Scottish Tradition under which moral concerns played a major role.

Born out of Smith’s wedlock with the Illuminati, not exactly nine months after the author’s major academic intercourse in 1776, the Homo Economicus, put it short, is a misinterpretation of Smith’s self-interest concept.

Little by little the politique was taken away from the économique and economics became mathematics. In order for economics to be a science such as physics men were reduced to atoms. Quoting Murray Gell-Mann, “Think how hard physics would be if particles could think”, now, think how hard economics would be if men had feelings...
Modern economics, under the streetlight effect, asks not this question. A drunken mainstream economist is looking for his car keys under a lamppost, a younger economist asks whether he has lost his keys there, the prominent economist replies: “No, I lost the keys somewhere across the street, but the light here is better”. The youngster follows his master with all his heart, ironically, for heart matters belong not to the modus operandi of his science. He gets thrilled when his paper proving that emotions play no role in economics wins the Clark Medal. In the following years he gets completely obsessed with the possibility of winning the Nobel. Unfortunately this fairy tale doesn’t have a happy ending; during his lifetime another economist was actually able to prove that humans are robots, hence winning the Nobel prize for his major contributions in fostering the scientific inherent aspects of life.

Passionate economists argue that Robot Economicus inhabits our world, they twist-and-shout and scream-and-cry to defend their deep beliefs. Just don’t blame Adam Smith for our blindness, the man he portrayed wasn’t ruled by algorithms:

Though every man may, according to the proverb, be the whole world to himself (...) Though his own happiness may be of more importance to him than that of all the world besides (...) In the race for wealth, and honours, and preferments, he may run as hard as he can, and strain every nerve and every muscle, in order to outstrip all his competitors. But if he should justle, or throw down any of them, the indulgence of the spectators is entirely at an end. It is a violation of fair play, which they cannot admit (…) They readily, therefore, sympathize with the natural resentment of the injured, and the offender becomes the object of their hatred and indignation”.

Um comentário:

  1. I do believe that a change of names for our science is long overdue: no longer exactly dismal, it is much rather stultifying.

    Ass: Pedro Mendes Loureiro