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“The pernicious effects of the self-interest theory have been most disturbing,” Frank writes in Passions Within Reason. “By encouraging us to expect the worst in others it brings out the worst in us: dreading the role of the chump, we are often loath to heed our nobler instincts.”
I've always suspected that economics seems to attract the most selfish and arrogant among us. It's concerning that selfishness seems to be coded into the very curriculum itself, especially when the assumptions about human nature tend to ignore anything from the social sciences.
Moral of the story: Try to avoid getting stuck in a prisoner's dilemma with an economist.