How to be uber-happy and awesome.

Dave Killion — August 15, 2011

Reuters offers an editorial in which Vernon Smith, Bart Wilson, and Ronald Rotunda answer the question; Are capitalists happier? From the article –

The capitalists indicate greater happiness. We cannot measure this happiness the way we can quantify gains from trade, but the chat room discussions are revealing. In the “villages” (groups of players), the capitalist players engaged in small talk and banter as well as trade. A typical chat: Person 1 tells Person 7 that they can make more money if they specialize like the others, and Person 7 adds, “then trade” and “everyone is uber-happy.” Another player comments, “we are awesome”. “Yup,” says another. Another participant says, “usually there’s some idiot who just hordes his own blocks”. To which another responds, “very sad”. When Person 2 explains that stealing is not in anyone’s long term benefit, Person 6 responds, “I love you player 2”. The players who agreed to respect private property also seemed more respectful.

In the villages that did not respect private property, the chat room exchanges were very cold and impersonal. Surprisingly, at no point do these players discuss specialization. They saw that other villages were producing and consuming a lot more and were a lot wealthier, but they never asked how they might acquire such quantities. On the days of “rest”, they seldom chatted in the chat rooms.”

This is in no way a defence of our current corporatist system, in which politicians pursue their self-interest through the selection of winners and losers, while depriving us so many opportunities for the satisfaction and fulfillment that come from peaceful, voluntary interactions. But it provides a strong argument for where we should be heading.


Shirley says

I like this….especially the title…haha..and the concise description of our current situation in the last paragraph.

— August 16, 2011

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