Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Economic Ape

Like a minuscule version of Scott Adams' blog, I try to find new ways of looking at old issues, merging economics with psychology with statistics - and consequently there is a fair overlap with Freakonomics. However although that is an excellent site, I think they usually don't do enough to look at the fundamental causes of human behaviour, the basic science. But yesterday they did ... as there was an interview with Frans de Waal. One of his key observations was that it is part of our inescapable nature to be concerned not so much with absolute wealth as with relative wealth and perceived notions of fairness, something I constantly echo at this site.

It's also worth directly quoting his views on a particular Oxford-based scientist: [He] is the most underrated behavioral biologist (ethologist) of his generation. His books have shaped the view of many, because he openly discussed, with great humor and flair, the human-animal connection before we had sociobiology, evolutionary psychology, and the like.

I admire the guy, because it took guts to write what he wrote. As a student, I learned about his book because my professors kept warning us
not to read Desmond Morris.

That is almost exactly what I said here just a few months ago.

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