Thursday, April 26, 2007

Toward a neo-marxist biological economics

Imagine a game with several players.

Some players experience pleasure when they do something nice for someone else, and experience pain when are prevented from doing something nice. Other players experience pleasure when they get things from other people, and experience pain when they give something to someone else.

People who follow the second set of rules are often thought to "have a head for business", even though "avarice" is one of the nine or so seven deadly sins, while people who follow the first rules are "saints", even when they meet clinical definitions of masochism.

In a set of exchanges where both parties maximize their utility, over time the "Greedheads" will control all the property, while the saints luxuriate in beatific poverty. And there is nothing terribly wrong with this, except that the saints, now below the poverty line, are deprived of opportunities to help others.

However, macroscopically, I can't wrap my mind around why a civilzation would want to centralize power in the hands of ungenerous people. Should there be mechanisms that socially elevates Saints provides them with breeding opportunities? Do we really want a society that encourages stingy DNA to replicate while systematically depriving luminous beacons of light from resources?

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