Saturday, May 15, 2021

MO-9. Trauma and the Economy: Money Regulates Access to Resources, Calming the Anxiety Behind Greed

Trauma has social, political and economic consequences. The people who have innovated and shaped our institutions, like social leaders, politicians and economists, have developed from early lives that have been more or less stressful and traumatizing. Of course, they have carried the some elements of their life experiences into the social, political and economic domains.

As for economics, it seems evident that homo oeconomicus, with his exclusive focus on utility maximization for personal benefit and the winner-takes-all principle of the competitive market economy, is a prime example of a person whose stress response system is permanently on high alert, producing the vigilance characteristic of people accustomed to danger from every direction. "You gotta watch our for your own interests, because no one else will" is a lesson one may learn very early in life, and research over the past 20-30 years has shown that such an early environment affects brain structure and neural development in profound ways.