Good. So rats are perfect consumers, great utility maximizers, and good ones Candidates for an extra program “Fell-Shopping-Queen”. And now the crucial question: Why?


Why do animals know the economic theory?

We can rule out that E4 or the other rats of one of the above quoted textbooks have read, and even if they read it - can you understand it? And even if they understand it, will they apply it? Rather not. The household theory sometimes even begs first semesters, and they have at least tutorials.

Or let's take Keith Chen's capuchin monkeys: Chen brings them to his charges Idea developed by Money at. They learn that you can get food in exchange for coins, so-called tokens. The lab assistant shows one Hand with fodder and holds out an empty hand - place a token in the wizard's hand and they get the fodder.

Can monkeys read books?

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Now you can do all kinds of experiments and see how the monkeys behave when you Income – i.e. the number of tokens you give them – changes, or if you change the prices for certain types of food. Chen's conclusion: Monkeys know the price theory of economists. And follow them. They respond to price changes, increases in income, and changes in the rewards they get for their money. Bet Keith Chen's enterprising monkeys don't read economics books?

What sounds funny is a serious question that goes deeper than the idea that rats don't read books: economists are accused of having unrealistic models - including those of household theory - that People not behave in such a way that reality is different.

A survival strategy

And now a couple of rats come along - you can also prove that with pigeons - and stick to the script that the unrealistic textbooks outline. Something doesn't fit here. And the Solution lies in a misunderstanding of how science and how people work. What is the shopping queen doing, what is E4 doing, what are the rats doing?

They try to make the most of their limited resources. That sounds selfish, but from an evolutionary point of view it is essential for survival: In a cold one Welt Given the scarcity, you have to manage as well as possible with the given resources in order to survive. For the shopping queen, this is the task Fun, luxury for teenagers, vital for E4. Whoever misjudges his means, his powers, will be sifted out by nature.

The hunts-shopping-queen dilemma

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Let's take the shopping queen experiment from the lab to the wild. Are there similar problems here? But for sure. Every hunter who roams his territory to make prey or to collect berries or roots faces the same thing Problem like our rats, teenagers, and shopping queens: he has limited resources—mainly strength and time—and with those limited resources he must maximize his energy intake, make prey, find food in order to survive.

The classic shopping queen dilemma. Rats, pigeons, animals, humans, teenagers, shopping celebrities - they all optimize you Behavior, not because they read it in economics textbooks, or because they're told to behave that way—they do that because evolution and tradition have taught them to do so.

Dictatorship of scarcity - no place for spendthrift

And whoever does not behave like this is removed from the blueprint of life. There is no room for extravagance on the earth.

And that's not just for shopping and shopping, for energy drinks and cola or root beer and Tom Collins - almost all areas of life bow to the dictatorship of scarcity and encounter it with economic behavior. Whether animal or human. Darwin does not allow for any species that is wasteful.

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