...the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life...

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Economics & Fairness

You know, David, in many ways, it's important to remember that the rational actor model that economists build is a model. It's very powerful in that it does explain how people behave under many circumstances, but sometimes you can forget that this is a model and start to think that this is not just a useful mathematical tool but a code for behavior. Zarghamee mentioned that Adam Smith quote - "it's not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer and the baker" - and said that Adam Smith's mother cooked, cleaned and cared for him through much of his life. So even as he was touting the virtues of selfishness, he was depending on someone else acting unselfishly.
- Shankar Vendantam, 2/21/17, NPR

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