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 4: Widening the Economic Approach to Hate

Samuel Cameron

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


THE SIX STATEMENTS ABOUT HATRED RECONSIDERED In this chapter we look at broadening the conception of the individual used in economics in the context of hatred. To an extent this requires us to look at issues of a biological nature, as emotions are intrinsically biological rather than the passive commodities implied with the narrow economic approach. First, let us refresh our memory of the six statements given earlier. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Hatred is the most extreme emotion. Expression of hatred is more likely to provoke extreme social disapproval than expression of other emotions. Displays of hatred exhibit more irrationality than displays of other emotions. (2) is due not so much to (3) as to fear of the consequences of the action of a hateful individual. With respect to (2) and (4), people are generally less likely to dismiss displays of hatred as temporary aberrations that will settle down than they are other emotions such as anger. Once formed, hatred is not easily diffused or deflected into ‘safety valve’ outlets. 6. The first of these can be linked to biological roots within an evolutionary view of tastes. Hate can be seen as a corollary of anger which will be a useful trait in environments where resources are being contested. In the most primitive situation, all else being equal, the angriest individual will fight the hardest. This clearly may be counter-productive in complex situations if the ‘anger into hatred’ nexus is something which impairs judgement. Statement 2 needs...

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