Main Features of Metaeconomics and

Dual Interest Theory

  • Offering metaeconomics as an analytical engine for behavioral economics, especially a more humanistic behavioral economics,  as well as a supplement to neoclassical and institutional economics

  • Bringing the moral dimension... character,  good norms, values, beliefs... explicitly into the framework, theory and analytical focus

  • Empathy is the invisible hand of the moral dimension; as we empathize to form the other(shared with others)-interest, we make the invisible hand visible

  • Recognizing the need for a new, dual interest theory ...joint self&other-interest...of human behavior as the cornerstone of  a metaeconomics theory

  • Shared other-interest reflects and arises out of the impartial spectator, the conscience, the character, the moral dimension

  • Drawing on the latest thinking in neuroscience and evolutionary psychology

  • Hypothesizing the triune brain represented in: ego based self-interest;  empathy based other-interest; self-discipline and self-control on the path to a rational, balanced moral community influenced choice

  • Seeing the three parts as somewhat autonomous while simultaneously symbiotic

  • Acknowledging the co-evolutionary character of human experience

  • Recognizing the conflicting forces of ego&empathy, self&other. . . the tension. . . inherent in homo sapiens

  • Proposing a theory that models discipline and self-control while moving away from maximizing to satisficing self-interest

  • Positing that most humans most of the time are satisficing with respect to individual self-interest and to other(shared with others, but also an internalized)-interest

  • Positing that most humans most of the time are seeking integration and balance while maximizing the joint self&other interest

  • Recognizing failures in achieving balance in self&other-interest are common due to a variety of human fallacies and shortcomings, including inaccurate and usually over simplified heuristics; not really maximizing (X-inefficiency);  over-optimism; limited calculation abilities, leading at best to a bounded rationality;  displaying availability bias (probabilities associated only with a limited recollection of events), anchoring and adjustment bias (changing the choice dependent upon where they start); representative bias (unable to accurately work with probabilities); and loss aversion, clinging to what one already has in place, staying with the status quo 

  • Framing economic issues  to make explicit the human need to seek  the empathy (which leads to the moral) dimension as well as the ego based pleasure humans seek

  • Working to integrate the invisible hand construct, making it a visible and technical aspect of economics, through empirical measurement and attention to the empathy sourced other-interest 

  • Adding precision to social capital (i.e., norms and networks, reflecting the shared other-interest, character) as an analytical construct within metaeconomics

  • Integrating neuroscience, economics, social psychology, economic psychology, political science, sociology, philosophy as well as basic neuroscience and paleontology as represented in evolutionary psychology

  • Acknowledging thermodynamics as describing the reality of inherent interdependence on this spaceship earth

  • Attending to the inherent contemporary and intertemporal justice problem arising due to interdependence, with justice also a substantive part of the shared other-interest

  • Recognizing the complexity in economic behavior while still seeking a parsimonious model

  • Building upon methods developed in social psychology which is especially empirical, drawing on those methods for measuring  latent, dual utility,, and to otherwise measure the level of achievement of the interests

  • Reintegrating ethics (moral dimension, values, norms, Smith's impartial spectator) and economics

  • Including being influenced by the moral dimension within the domain of rationality

  • Recognizing both the instrumental and affective parts of  the moral dimension

  • Proposing that individuals also often subject moral commitments to benefit-cost calculations

  • Modeling the intrapersonal, not the interpersonal, relationship(s) driving economic action; everything is intrapersonal (there is no such thing as other-regarding; it is  all about the own-self, internal to own-self, one's own-interest as Adam Smith proposed)

  • Suggesting ways to model the micro-to-macro and the macro-to-micro transition

  • Maintaining the liberal democracy, liberty and freedom perspective, with its focus on the individual

  • Considering the interpersonal relationship really is an intrapersonal action, through the construct of empathy and the evolution of norm(s), shared values which become internalized 

  • Offering an alternative theory of individual action not a theory of collective or social action

  • Staying focused on the individual as the wellspring of  action 

  • Seeing markets as playing a key role while embedded in the larger society

  • Viewing society as embedded in the natural environment

  • Proposing that it is self-control and the will that ultimately leads to an integrated, balanced state

  • Suggesting the individual emerges as a distinct entity, balancing self&other-interest

  • Reaching a distinct state within each individual and thus achieving the true wealth of a nation

  • Positing that prices and costs are subjective due to having moral content

  • Recognizing the moral content of the material and the material content of the moral

  • Recognizing both the endogenous and exogenous nature of the moral and material dimensions

  • Developing a formal conceptual apparatus with ego, empathy and control all explicit

  • Drawing upon laboratory (especially experimental behavioral economics), survey and focus group research, neuroscience methods and machinery (e.g. fMRI, CT scans), any scientific means that works to collect real world data, and do empirical testing used to refine metaeconomics framing and theory

  • Offering an analytical engine that  recognizes a broader version of altruism, as represented by self-sacrifice in both the self-interest and the other-interest domains

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