Philosophy of Economic Behavior

Why do economic models often fail their predictions despite the sophistication achieved by their methods? Why can many people with a background in finance, economics and investment manage money from other individuals or companies, but cannot manage their own financial lives wisely? These are questions to which economic psychology and behavioral economics have brought relevant insights that have earned The Nobel Prize in economics in the years 2002 and 2017. However, they have not been sufficient to elucidate these questions.

Seeking for more understanding, philosophy has joined with psychology and behavioral economics to study the other vertex of the human economic triangle: emotions as influencing factors in the choices of an individual in a socially interacting world. It was by thinking in these terms that the philosophy of economic behavior emerged.

Until then, when thinking about economics, rational people soon came to mind as those that can make the right choices that best benefit their pockets. After all, as Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill have taught us, we pursue wealth and avoid poverty, and this should make us always seek greater gain in our daily business. But not only is human being quasi-rational, as Richard Thaler argues, it is also emotional, to the extent that David Hume asserts that reason is a slave to the passions. Behind the pursuit of wealth is a whole framework of emotions linked to the symbolic content that accompanies money, which represents the possibility of fulfilling the unlimited desires of an ever-desiring and never-satisfied individual.

Economics is a science that belongs to the human realm, which means that in addition to being among the humanities, it is operated in real life by human beings. Not by the rational homo economicus (economic man), postulated in abstract models, but by the flesh-and-blood individual who pays bills, makes loans, uses overdraft, goes to the movies, rides a bicycle, anyway for any of us and not only by people who have sophisticated knowledge in economics and finance. If life were a road, the economy would be the asphalt that covers it and on which we travel.

It is from this point that the philosophy of economic behavior bases its studies and research, taking advantage of the scientific discoveries of psychology and economics and thinking about them. The purpose of this site is to discuss the subject more broadly, presenting the result of investigations of this new field of philosophical study and many others who have dedicated themselves to understanding the human ethos in the world, despite the world.

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Nara Rela

Graduated in Economics and Philosophy, Master in Philosophy, PhD in Philosophy at Pontifical Gregorian University – Rome, Italy. Visiting Scholar – University of Genova – Italy.
Internship in the national and international sales departments of  German company.
Export Coordinator in several Brazilian companies.
President of the National Tourism Council in Brazil.
Participated in missions to attract international investments and in Roadshows in Lisbon and Paris (coordinated by the Brazilian Ministry of Tourism, Banco Espírito Santo and BNP Paribas), in India (Delhi and Mumbai).
Economics Commentator on TV news bulletins, with the objective of clarifying the Brazilian and international economics field, the various measures implemented by the government and how they affect the actual daily life of the citizens.
Economics columnist in Brazilian newspaper.