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Theoretical and Applied Economics
No. 10 / 2007 (515)

Homo oeconomicus

„Thanks to them, money generate even more money,
power generates even more power,
and the word generates even more words.”
Leszek Kolakovski

Originating Political Economics in the rationalist project has brought it at least two inadequacies: one towards the specificity of human nature and another towards the purpose of creativity. In the former situation it has flattened its reasoning capacity by refusing diversity, and in the latter it isolated itself in the rule of quantitism.

Economic activity is the realm of the exclusively rational human type, and the results are only validated by efficiency. Reducing the actors to a single dimension - clones of the hypothetical homo oeconomicus - aligned with charging progress with the objective-function of wealth maximization has turned Economics into a corpus of assumptions which forever needed changing under the pressure of contextual utility. The cause: anthropic idealism and the scarceness of performance. In fact, the cause is linked to the inexistence of homo oeconomicus and the impossibility of regularizing winnings.

Political Economics has appeared as a recepy for a universe populated by fictions and destined to generate illusions.

The 18th century fashion of secularizing everything has offered the referential support on which it would have probably been possible to be accounted: the invisible hand. The de-sacralization justified the means in this instance; to have everything it means to operationalize the irrational. Obviously, sentiment had to be extracted from the arbiter's place in order to install something concocted by the rational.

Economics now had the principle of its own truth in order to legitimize the rule of efficiency.

The market has started the crusade of modernization - at first under the guise of industrialism - progressively sacrificing nature and no valuing the workforce programmatically. The market is the nature of homo oeconomicus and it consumes human nature, as well as nature in general. The ideal volatilizes the real. Perfection knows but to encompass everything. Regularization eliminated diversity. Randamental performance imposes standardization. Progress cannot be bound by logical limits...

The projection on reality of this pre-formed vision has turned the economy into an El Dorado in which enrichment replaces salvation. The tempting faith of wealth has whetted the ritual of perpetuating the sacrifice: the right to choose, including the human condition. Under this modernist armor the economy became the most accessible mechanism for producing power. The perfect game has been generalized. Wealth is the positive sum.

The competition for wealth has democratic consistency and mystical motivation. The rule is competition, the exception is the winning. Absolute power is secularized.

It becomes relative. Wealth manipulates democracy through centrifugal action. Power proves to be a centripetal force of wealth. The elites legitimize themselves with the equality of chances, the masses exercise the right to diversity.

Economics simplifies the route of success. The essential target is loaded with the meanings of any other target. The conquest of nature was the primary method. The conquest of people was the implicit goal. It is not even relevant to Economics to mention the implicit goal. Rationalization has allowed it to speak only of resources. The control of resources has become the absolute rational theme of Economics.

The Smithian epistemic hit has fixed the exclusive function of Economics. Wealth is the single target. Success was due to the method of cutting the Gordian knot. The complication of un-tangling the ball of yarn was avoided. Human nature is also a resource of wealth. The individuals as a human resource are also part of the rational recepy of wealth. Economics has been perfectly objectivized. It only solves problems of resource control. For Economics the anthropic principle no longer exists. The end-goal is merged with the cause. Wealth is pure power. Homo oeconomicus has no soul.

The emergence of objectives in the concept of wealth is a product of The Enlightment. Economics has become a perfect mechanism. Incertitude is only about quantity. The objectification perspective on resources solves the constraints of rarity. Human nature breaks the vicious circles of nature. The synthetic replaces the natural, the artificial dilutes the living. Artificial thought creates for itself an artificial world. The limits of power as wealth - the result of control over indistinct resources - wanes. Reason eliminates sentiment.

Power explains itself as the origin of the Universe.


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Homo oeconomicus
Marin Dinu

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The Economicity. The Epistemic Landscape, Marin Dinu, 2016

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