This neuroeconomics research (and similar research by Kevin McCabe (see his trust post from April), and others) is important on several levels. At its most fundamental level, neuroeconomics is probing the connections between the brain and human action, and this is one strand of that fundamental research. But it's the implications for human action that I find most fascinating. Think about the great puzzle that is the move from personal exchange to impersonal exchange that occurred slowly over the early medieval period around the Mediterranean. I claim that the move to impersonal exchange, grounded in formal and informal legal institutions that facilitate exchange, is at its core the main reason for the great prosperity and plenitude that we enjoy and have enjoyed for over two centuries.
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