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The Romantic Economist. Emotions and economic decision-making

I remember the much-missed Anita Roddick saying at an Inspired Leaders Network event: “I am NOT homo economicus.” Shouting, actually.

The post below on the ethical consumer highlights how emotions wrap into people’s economic decisions. Increasingly so in recent years, with concerns for the environment. So, I’ve been delighted at the growth of ‘behavioural economics’ (or ‘behavioral’ if you are in the US) as a discipline, to flesh out the whole 50% of the equation that classical and neo-classical economics misses out – the human element.

I’m even more delighted at Richard Bronk for writing The Romantic Economist. He draws on the work of John Ruskin and others to delve into the emotional bonds that customers form with organizations and that drive economic decisions and create economic patterns of behaviour/behavior.

A serendipity moment: see Shaun Smith’s most recent post on customer emotion and loyalty for an insight into the need to boost your emotional bonds in a downturn over on his CX Blog (Customer Experience blog).

And here’s the blurb for Richard Bronk’s new book, which is available about now:

Since economies are dynamic processes driven by creativity, social norms, and emotions as well as rational calculation, why do economists largely study them using static equilibrium models and narrow rationalistic assumptions? Economic activity is as much a function of imagination and social sentiments as of the rational optimisation of given preferences and goods. Richard Bronk argues that economists can best model and explain these creative and social aspects of markets by using new structuring assumptions and metaphors derived from the poetry and philosophy of the Romantics. By bridging the divide between literature and science, and between Romanticism and narrow forms of Rationalism, economists can access grounding assumptions, models, and research methods suitable for comprehending the creativity and social dimensions of economic activity. This is a guide to how economists and other social scientists can broaden their analytical repertoire to encompass the vital role of sentiments, language, and imagination.

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