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Forum Antiquum Spring 2021 lecture: 'Will the real homo economicus please stand up?'

Thursday 18 February 2021
The lectures are online.

Physical meetings are still very restricted for anything that is not part of the regular education programme. Therefore, we will meet in the following Kaltura Live Room. 

We start at 16:00.  
For more information about Forum Antiquum and the link to the liveroom, please contact 
Henric Jansen or Iris van Kuijk.

Will the real homo economicus please stand up?

The problem is not scarcity, but abundance.”

“Wealth is not about possessions but about your ability to use your possessions well.”

“Money is worthless if you use it to buy alcohol or drugs.”

“Freedom is the capacity to not pursue your desires.”

We all know this type of statements. We know them as lifestyle advice, as small talk or a piece of Eastern wisdom—but definitely not as economic statements. Economic statements are supposed to play a different game: they revolve around choices in a world of scarcity, they do not aim to prescribe morality but rather describe human behavior. Defined in this way, economic thinking is a game that the ancient Greeks simply did not play.

In my new research project From Homo Economicus to Political Animal, I aim to show that actually there was a wealth of economic reflection in ancient Greece—reflection that is often not recognized or acknowledged as such, because it defies our expectations of what economic theories are supposed to look like and because it puts a different type of human being in its center instead of the protagonist of modern economic theory, Homo Economicus.

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