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Economic Mind: From Attribution Error to Self-Fulfilling Prophecy


I argue in this text that the economic mind is a culturally hegemonic, naturalistic interpretation of the behavior produced by the revolutionary nature of the economic and technical developments of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Despite persistent criticism, people fulfilled the predictions of the economic model of a human being for so long that they committed an attribution error and took it to be the adequate vision of human nature. Neoclassical economic theory played a significant, even if involuntary, role in the spread of this illusion. I also claim that the concept of economic mind—as the dominant interpretation of human nature—currently functions as a self-fulfilling prophecy, reproducing behaviors that would have a chance to change (refuting the theory developed on their basis), were it not for the popularity of this concept as commonsensical definition of human nature.

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