Public Talk by Dr. Michael Munger “Lifeboat Minds in a Walmart World: Are Emotional Responses to Markets Atavistic?”

Monday 18 April 2016, 4 p.m. in the Annenberg Forum, 111 Carswell Hall.

Dr. Munger is Professor of Political Science, Public Policy, and Economics at Duke University.

Humans evolved a set of mental structures to foster cooperation.  Emotions cause us to provide the public good of norm enforcement, making us angry if we see a violation of the rules and making us feel guilty if we violate the rules ourselves.  The problem is that these reactions are non-rational, and were evolved in a setting where market institutions either did not exist or were not important for preserving life.  Do these emotional responses to “being taken advantage of” harm us today in emergency situations when a market response would actually be helpful, and perhaps life-saving?