Sunday, December 25, 2005

"The Peacock Mind"

A holiday present to its readers from The Economist is "The proper study of mankind: A survey of human evolution" (Dec 24, 2005).

The survey covers many of the evolving ideas in anthropology, biology and evolutionary psychology.

I particularly liked this "... the human mind is like a peacock's tail, a luxuriant demonstration of its owner's geneitc fitness." And "[p]erhaps the founding father of economics is not really Adam Smith, who merely explained how to get rich, but Charles Darwin, who helped explain why."

Women are drawn to high-status successful males. These males (may)know that money will not make them happy but it does help them to procreate. Male striving, in turn, animates comparative advantage and economic growth.

The money buys (or does not buy) happiness discussion may be interesting but also beside the point when put alongside such heavy weights as sex and evolution.