Mythical Beast: Homo Economicus (The “Rational” Agent)
Homo Economicus, also known as the “Rational Agent“, has long been an article of faith among economists. However, he has never been found in the fossil record, and thus is quite at home in this compendium of mythological creatures!!!
The general consensus of modern science is that the “rational agent” very often isn’t. In fact, Homo Economicus is now known to be predictably irrational. Recent discoveries in the field of experimental psychology indicate that, in all likelihood, “A fool and his money are soon parted”.
“The Fool [tarot card] is the spirit in search of experience. …In his hand there is a flower, showing his appreciation of beauty. He is frequently accompanied by a dog, sometimes seen as his animal desires, sometimes as the call of the “real world”, nipping at his heels and distracting him. He is seemingly unconcerned that he is standing on a precipice, apparently about to step off. One of the keys to the card is the paradigm of the precipice, Zero and the sometimes represented oblivious Fool’s near-step into the oblivion.” (Wikipedia)
The evolution of Homo Economicus (click to enlarge):
A typical habitat, the Jungle of NUPAR-TAR, for Homo Economicus is illustrated below (click the picture for further information on the Jungle of NUPAR-TAR).
Neurobiology of Homo Economicus (the “Rational Agent”)