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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 186 of Tyler Cowen’s 2019 book Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero:

One of humanity’s key problems is that human beings evolved to make sense of an environment where a lot of the main problems were caused by individual human agency. Our biggest benefactors, and also our biggest threats, were small groups of other people who sought to either aid or harm us with very deliberate, conscious intent. We evolved in groups of status-conscious primates, for whom building the right social alliances was a key to reproductive success and thus important to our well-being. So, for better or worse, we are geared to think in terms of what small groups of socially allied people will do to us and what their intentions are toward us. We are rather less well constructed for thinking about abstract systems, the import of rules, and how the secondary or tertiary consequences of those rules may improve (or harm) human well-being in nonobvious ways.

In other words, people tend to anthropomorphize even when such attributions are inappropriate.