Under The Jacaranda Tree

I have elsewhere suggested that the Rational Actor model of economics is not merely incomplete but utterly wrong, on the grounds that, once employed, we do not act to maximise our economic advantage but rather to increase emotional satisfactions; which are generally obtained by denying and frustrating others.

Under a tree in Almería one day, I suddenly realised that this is only a special case; the wider truth is that man exchanges economic resources for the ritual abasement of others. “Conspicuous subservience”, as Veblen called it. Given that being low on the totem pole is bad for the mental health, and this may be true of other hierarchical animals, the human edge as the Enslaving Mammal is that we alone can pay other people to become unhappy for us.

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