Economic Behaviorism and Culture

newmusicbox November 14, 2007

An interesting and articulate post, Ryan.  You seem to follow the premise of classical and neo-liberal economics which asserts that people make economic decisions based on utility – even if their decisions are sometimes mistaken.  For comparison, you might want to read some articles about economic behaviorism.  There’s quite a bit on the web.  Economists are learning that people’s spending habits are often not rational at all.  Economic behaviorism studies this irrational behavior – a sort of sociology of irrational spending habits that are a far more pervasive force in economies than economists had believed.

I think this will also be important for the arts.  Our ruling aesthetic philosophies are usually very directly linked to our ruling economic philosophies.  For example, postmodernism and neo-liberalism both embrace certain aspects of the arts in market economies.  I think that neo-liberalism is falling out of favor, and that it will be greatly altered, or even replaced by economic behaviorism as a ruling paradigm.  In the next 10 to 20 years, I think economic behaviorism will become our central economic philosophy, and that it will formulate a new set of aesthestic concepts based on the predictable patterns of human irrationality.  (I know this is all very abstract and needs a lot of explanation, but I need to stop farting around and…er… shut-up and compose.  Read some of the articles available and maybe you will sense what I mean.)