The End of Homo Economicus

This video with Dan Pink summarizes recent behavioral research that blasts the myth of homo economicus totally away. Once basic needs are met, what motivates people in performing complex cognitive tasks is NOT more pay, but autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Watch it. – t.h.g.

6 responses to “The End of Homo Economicus

  1. Simply look at the internet. The basics of it are purely algorithm driven, yet what emerges is a reandom combination of factors produced by individuals who are anything but algorithm driven.

    For example, I have a web page,, where I develop ideas regarding the relation to due process and common law, and provide links to other pages showing why unwritten common law, regarding “life, liberty, and property” of the individual is far more just and effective than mechanically, algorithmically controlled laws that are determined top down.

    I spend most of my day doing this tye of thing for the benefit of those who want alternatives. Multiply this by millions, and you see that people are driven by mastery and autonomy over their lives, rather than controlled algorithmically managed incentives.

    The new economy is here. We’re just fine tuning it now.


  2. I believe your Video was dead on as to people’s (workers) motivations. I also believe very, very few corporations would ever truly try your ideas with their workers. I left a corporate career after over 25 years because of non-monetary factors and would never go back because of the way most corporations treat their employees. It’s a shame because there is no telling what could be accomplished by giving people much more freedom and autonomy and respect.


  3. Travis Baskerfield

    Uh, to the two othercommentators. I don’t think you understand the liberating power in the core idea.

    It is to economic theory as quantum mechanics is to classical 19th century physics.

    Or, see it as a koan if that’s your lens.

    All he is saying is that we have forgotten what money is because we’ve been in the ridiculous situation of confusing DEBT with MONEY and given ourselves ulcers trying to get our hands of more and more of it!

    Keep trying until you see the beauty of it!

    Put into practice, the jobs that really needed to be done at all levels can now be tackled in a meaningful way.


  4. Travis Baskerfield


    I get it. Thanks. Brilliant ideas, presented ingeniously and empowering.

    I’ll be spreading this and exploring more on this site.

    You realise that if enough of us grok the significance of this concept then the Merchants of Debt will cross?

    Thanks again.


  5. Interesting video, summarises concepts I’ve though before, thanks for sharing. Nice blog btw.


  6. so if drug researchers out of college were to start at 19k instead of 45 k they woudl go at it just as hard??

    when lead drug researcher says , whoo this projsrct is oint to require some additional oomph….mastery and the chance to better ones self will carry the day???

    i will look back at jean luc picard to get tips


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