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Behavioral economics: The essence of a culture and its wealth!

March 13, 2013

The title above implies that a culture of wealth is not here yet. What is a culture of wealth? The US is a culture of wealth and freedom, to some extent, but I am thinking of a much better culture in the future. A culture of wealth is a new system of living, more behavioral than living in the United States today. Right now millions of people dream of somehow, legally or illegally, they will end living in the United States where they can earn a diploma, create a good living for themselves and their families, get hired for a decent job, buy a nice home, a car and eat their cultural food, listen to their music and decorate their home like it would look if you wer rich in the old place.

What’s behavioral economics got to do with it? Behavioral Economics is a system that is sweeping the world. Obama hired Sunstein, Cameron hired Thaler, both leading behavioral experts. I am not going to tell you more about the politics of it, just about behavior. The ratio of productive behavior to unproductive behavior in the US today is about 1:4, meaning only about 25% of what you do contributes to health,  happiness and wealth. I am now retired, thanks God, but when I was working I was in constant fighting with mentalist bosses. Today, 25% of the bosses are behavioral, a better chance for the culture of wealth to develop. Can you imagine how wonderful it would be when 75% of all the bosses are behavioral rather than mentalist. For those of you who find it hard to follow my two original concepts, I will give you a few examples from 30 years of working as a psychologist:

1. Boss: The tests show that David is Schizophrenic.

Behavioral psychologist: His behavior is consistently normal.

B: He is diagnosed as schizophrenic.

BP: He is normal.

2. Boss: This hospital will be closed soon. We are losing too much money treating this generation of patients who have too many problems

Bp: Set up a behavioral treatment program. Trim the mentalist workshops, the one-on-one sessions, reward good behaviors such as work,  exercise, eating a balanced meal and losing    weight. For example, buy a tread mill and give Mary money for losing 25 lbs per quarter

B: Are you kidding?

Bp: Nop.

3. Boss: George is an alcoholic in remission. Every one at the AA knows that, even George himself.

Bp: When was the last time he had a drink?

B: Oh, I know what you are aiming at, but you are wrong. It’s not logical.

Bp: When was the last time he had a drink?

B: 2 years ago?

Bp: George is not an alcoholic in remission. You, the boss, is a rationalist. Time to get off it, boss.

B: You are fired.

4. Boss: We can’t hire Steve. His CV came fifth on the list of qualifications.

Bp: I had a feeling that Steve would make a great instructor. I rated his behavior as A+ and asked 25 students to rate his performance in two of my own classroom.

Boss: We can’t use that information.

Bp: Why?

Boss: The education code does not allow us to hire instructors based on their behavior.

5. Boss: Your friends Dr. Thomas Szasz  and Dr  RD Laing say there is no such thing as mental illness, they are two crazy psychologists.

Bp: Read their books. They believe that all diagnosed patients with normal brain chemistry only have behavioral problems

B: What kind of behavioral problems?

Bp: They fail in relationships and can’t hold a decent job.

B: I can’t buy empirical evidence, I am a rationalist, not a behaviorist.

I have a hundred more! If you ask.

 

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Elior: He is not.

 

 

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