Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A sociologist, a psychologist, and an economic model walk into a bar

You know it is a joke.

Conscience is explained for everyday people by Wikipedia right here. That's generally enough to go by, but what if a a sociologist, a psychologist, and an economic model walk into a bar?

In this case, you may get a book on the evolution of conscience like this one (in German).
Conscience then is a means for parents to control children, a point disliked by a reviewer in the German daily FAZ as well as by yours truly.

If conscience is a parental control mechanism, some parents who don't seem to have any fail: they produce offspring with a big fat conscience. If conscience is a means of control, why does it go so spectacularly against control? A cynic might claim that such spectacular manifestations of conscience are something else altogether. Sounds familiar?

Taking economic models to the evolution of conscience makes as much sense to TheEditor as taking an economic model to the bar and showing it around after a few drinks. Beer goggles make many a model look wonderful, and even an awful one looks decidedly better.

Take biology and evolution to economics for a change, there is something to be learned there.

Reducing conscience to a deterministic entity does not sit well even with the much friendlier, to the authors, reviewer at SciLogs either. The latter makes an effort to laud how Darwin's texts as well as Shakespeare and Kafka are tied into the book.

Such a strange tome leaves a bad taste of backwardness, a concept well adapted to western society one hundred years ago.

For economists with a conscience, check out Amartya Sen, for instance.

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