Quote Of The Day

“Many people think that we should look down on “economic man,” who rationally calculates costs and benefits. They believe that people should have higher motives.

Instead, I suspect that the most likely alternative to economic motivation is a worse motive: status-seeking. I believe that is more important to curb our lust for status than our lust for goods and services.

The drive for economic gain helps the individual, and, as Adam Smith famously showed, helps others. Trade and economic growth are positive-sum games, in which there can be winners without losers. Moreover, when people seek economic gains, this is usually transparent. You usually understand when you and others you transact with are trying to improve your economic well-being.

Status, on the other hand, is typically a zero-sum game, in which one person’s gain comes at the expense of others. Adding to the evils of status-seeking is that people often deceive themselves and others into believing that they are doing something for a higher motive when in fact they are seeking status”. —Arnold Kling

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