The Economics of Hate

The Economics of Hate

Samuel Cameron

This important and highly original book explores the application of economics to the subject of hate via such diverse topics as war, terrorism, road rage, witchcraft mania, marriage and divorce, and bullying and harassment.

Chapter 3: Why is Hate Like Raspberry Jam? Hatred in Conventional Microeconomics

Samuel Cameron

Subjects: economics and finance, economic psychology, public sector economics

Extract

THE STATUS AND RELEVANCE OF EMOTIONS In the previous chapter we were mainly concerned with giving a view of the underlying philosophy and contents of economics. Hate was introduced occasionally simply as a good or commodity on a par with raspberry jam or hamburgers. We should pause to note that, outside of economics, other scholars (for example Douglas and Isherwood, 1979) see the consumption of commodities not as something ‘simple’ but as deeply imbued with meaning. In the terminology of Leibenstein’s (1950) pioneering analysis of bandwagon, Veblen and snob effects, there may be few genuinely ‘functional’ items of consumption, that is, those that satisfy a ‘basic’ physiological need without additional social elements being involved. One can readily see this issue with respect to hate. For example would Adolf Hitler have happily eaten a Jewish apple pie? Reversing the situation – how many of us would consume an exhibition of his paintings in the same way we would if it was by an anonymous Sunday painter? A related argument has long been made about the music of Wagner. The dominant factor in the non-functional consumption example just given is the presence of a symbolic content to the consumption act which is mediated by thought and emotion. If we are to fit hate into economic analysis in anything other than a prosaically mechanical way, then we have to treat it as an emotion or something which derives from emotions. The QPWM has not traditionally dealt properly with emotions. Indeed most of the...

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