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The “Emotional Overcoat”

  • Your personal collection of morals, ethics, values, traditions, culture, political beliefs, etc.

  • What makes you, you.

  • Determines what you perceive to be “right” and “wrong”

I collectively refer to the non-economic forces that affect our choices or decisions as the “Emotional Overcoat.” Most all of us have one. There may be a few who do not, like sociopaths or psyhcopaths for example that lack a moral compass or conscious. We all wear it day in and day out. Without it, we would probably not be very pleasant people. It is probably one of the most important “articles” of your personality and existence as a human being. Treat it accordingly. Treat it with the respect and dignity that it deserves.

At the beginning of the semester we discussed “positive economics” as being the objective look at economic issues. Objective meaning without emotion or value judgement. As a positive economist, we are trained to temporarily remove our “emotional overcoats” and look at economic choices based on their objective costs and benefits. I will ask you to do the same thing in here from time to time. It is difficult to do, because your emotional overcoat is stuck to you like glue. It does not like to come off of you. It is as if it is magnetized to you. But sometimes our emotional overcoat can cloud our ability to make choices, interfere with our rational thought processes. Sometimes we need to look at things from a very “cold hearted” perspective first in order to clearly evaluate our choices. Once we have a “cold hearted” evaluation, then we can put our emotional overcoats back on and make the a final decision based on the economic and non-economic forces at hand.

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