I've got bad news.
The economy is so easy, even a caveman could do it.
To hear where I’m coming from, listen to the planet money podcast for October 21st. Here's the link: http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2009/10/podcast_economics_for_monkeys.html
“Human beings aren't the only creatures who make economic decisions. It turns out that monkeys do it, too. Scientists have observed our primate kin exchanging goods and services and adjusting prices.
Ronald Noe, a professor of primate ethology at the
The price system is most likely an emergent property of various social behaviors in the primate brain. Most of them are hard wired. Concepts like fairness, equity and for lack of a better phrase ‘monetary value’ seem to be built right into not only us but our primate cousins as well. In my opinion, based on the architecture of our brains, it would be more amazing if this price system didn’t exist in human society.
I feel like I’ve been getting a lot of traction by disagreeing with Professor Roberts, so I’m not going to stop now. To quote his last paragraph:
The price system, along with the profit we allow producers to earn for responding effectively to prices, keeps our economic lives orderly in the face of those changes. Teachers of economics, this one included, should be looking for ways to illuminate the unseen workings of that incredible system. It is a system that is often described as competitive. Yet it is ultimately a system of cooperation. No one designed the system. It works without anyone being in charge. Marvel at it.
The price system scales nicely upward from our ancient beginnings in small groups on the African savanna. I refuse to marvel at it, any more than I would marvel at a chimpanzee who grooms his cellmate at the zoo and expects to be groomed in return. Our price system is just six and a half billion shaved apes with cell phones ‘grooming’ each other.
Don’t get me wrong, I want to grovel in amazement at this apparently un-designed wonder of the universe. I remember the first time I went to
Nice try Professor Roberts:
I’ll see you next week.