Economically Rational

Homo Economicus, the Economic Man, makes perfect decisions. He spends money only when it is in his utterly selfish interests, and always in the most prudent fashion available. He has perfect information about the marketplace at all times.

Lies, all lies, is one wave of reaction. First, people patently don't have perfect information. Second, we aren't motivated solely by prudence. And third, people often act against their own utterly selfish interests.

Now, to that reaction, I'll grant the first two objections (for the moment). But not the third. Because people never act against their own selfish interests, ever. Rather, people constantly delude themselves about where their self begins and ends.

Your self and your identities are wrapped around each other indivisibly, to the point where what is in your interest can easily take on wild colorations. If you are a liberal, then there is some extent to which liberal interests are your interests. If you are a patriot, then there is some extent to which the good of your nation is good to you - even, in some cases, good enough to risk your physical body.

If you are a Pokemon Fan, then that which is good for the success of the franchise is in your interest. Before you snicker, consider your favorite franchises, companies, manufacturers, restaurants. Does their success somehow make you feel greater?

And if this is true of your interests and commercial identities, how much more true is it of those you love? The good of your children, if you have children, is in your interests. But I digress a little from my intended objective.

Imagine, if you will, the anti-establishment hippie, stoned off his gourd, staring up at you and telling you "When you, like, put on a suit and sell out to the man, you turn into a zombie - they own you, man, they own your mind". He's got a point. Of course, the point applies to him, in reverse - our stoner hippie has bought an identity, and when he occupies that identity, many of his interests are managed for him.

When you settle on components of your identity, you are giving the society that defines that identity access to your goals and your wallet. This is true even if the identity chosen is supposedly counter-cultural; does your counter-culture have it's own shops? And that's rational, economically, in the sense that you've made this group part of your self.

To control your wallet, you must first control your self-image.