Homo Economicus

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= "the calculating part of ourselves that seeks maximization, accumulation, efficiency, and optimization". [1]


From the Wikipedia:

"The term Homo economicus, or economic man, is the portrayal of humans as agents who are consistently rational and narrowly self-interested, and who pursue their subjectively defined ends optimally. It is a wordplay on Homo sapiens, used in some economic theories and in pedagogy.

In game theory, Homo economicus is often (but not necessarily) modelled through the assumption of perfect rationality. It assumes that agents always act in a way that maximize utility as a consumer and profit as a producer,[2] and are capable of arbitrarily complex deductions towards that end. They will always be capable of thinking through all possible outcomes and choosing that course of action which will result in the best possible result.

The rationality implied in Homo economicus does not restrict what sort of preferences are admissible. Only naive applications of the Homo economicus model assume that agents know what is best for their long-term physical and mental health. For example, an agent's utility function could be linked to the perceived utility of other agents (such as one's husband or children), making Homo economicus compatible with other models such as Homo reciprocans, which emphasizes human cooperation.

As a theory on human conduct, it contrasts to the concepts of behavioral economics, which examines cognitive biases and other irrationalities, and to bounded rationality, which assumes that practical elements such as cognitive and time limitations restrict the rationality of agents."



Homo Economicus, meet the rest of your being

Brett Scott:

"Just like a beam of light contains multiple spectral wavelengths that can be seen by passing it through a prism, so Homo Sapiens contains multiple ‘human natures’, of which Homo Economicus is but one.

There’s no perfect way to split out the different parts of ourselves that might simultaneously reside in us, but the world becomes a lot more alive when you open yourself to the possibility that you are not one thing. Let’s go through some possible ‘natures’ within us. This is an imperfect and subjective list, and is by no means exhaustive or definitive. Think of it as a creative spur to help us think about what we might miss when we opt to use singular and constrained views of ‘human nature’.


If you set out to only see one thing, you are far more likely to find one thing, but when you open yourself to the possibility of multiple simultaneous things, you are more likely to find evidence of this in the world, and in yourself. Look at each of the people in the picture below. Each has multiple natures woven into the thread of their being. Each can also be taught, or pushed through circumstance, to identify more with one strand than another, and to attach their identity to it."


Homo Adventurous: the questing part of ourselves that seeks adventure and exhilaration, regardless of how efficient of optimized it is

Homo Communis: That part of ourselves that seeks connection with others, that empathizes and wants to be empathized with, that wants to love and be loved

Homo Cogitans: That thinking part of ourselves that wants to reflect on the world, and to contain the chaos within it into theories and philosophies that can make it seem less bewildering

Homo Absurdum: that part of ourselves that enjoys being silly, playing jokes and doing weird stuff that makes little ‘rational’ sense, like making pig faces. It’s that part of us that senses our existence is an unlikely cosmic joke

Homo Reverens: that serious part of ourselves that senses everything is deeply meaningful and must be approached with reverence, rather than being laughed at

Homo Meditari: the part of ourselves that wants to think of nothing, and to be free from unnecessary stuff. It’s that part of us that wants to fill itself with emptiness

Homo Ecologicus: the part of ourselves that feels intuitively connected to the earth, trees and rivers, and that loves the smell of fire, or rain on soil. It feels awe when looking at the night sky, and fascination at other creatures

Homo Expressio: That part of us that starts wanting to dance when we hear a bass drum, and that feels a desire to sing, and creatively express

Homo Shamanicus: the mystical part of us that desires to connect to unnamed things and feelings beyond the rational or verbal realm. It may sense that not everything can be explained, and that some things must simply be felt

Homo Eroticus: the part of us that lives in the tantalizing intersection between you and others. It plays with the push and pull of losing yourself in another and separating again

Homo Fusione: the part of us that desires to lose ourselves in a group, to lose individuality and identity. It’s that feeling when you want to cheer when everyone else cheers, and that elation at being part of a big movement

Homo Dominandi: that part of ourselves that seeks to project an aura of control, and which is scared of anything or anyone that threatens that illusion of control, and so seeks to subdue them. It’s that part of us that wants power over others

Homo Protectoris: the part of us that seeks to protect others from dominators and other dangers

Homo Activismus: the part of us that senses injustice, and wants to rectify it ."


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