A friend responded with:
It makes perfect sense. Just study game theory, change the independent variables to ‘effort to maximize income’ and the dependent (and finite) variable to ‘comfort of life’, the players are of course society. The outcome, which is human irrationality, is rational at the individual level, and is basically a group of people chasing finite resources.
My response to him is/was:
did you read the entire blog post? don’t take it out of context. the point was something else: that what is and isn’t rational is appropriated by i) those in whose interest it is to have it either in one or in the other category and ii) because of the first point, convenience trumps reality.
what may be perfectly rational behaviour may in fact be framed as irrational. that’s the point. again, i know you can invoke the ‘collective action’ problem argument, but that’s not the point.
to go from rational to irrational is a vague, arbirary and rather ambiguous project. why is a collective byproduct irrational but an individual one rational. this is what doesn’t make sense. and this is why i propose that in fact, it DOES make sense, once you understand the mechanics behind ‘rational’ and ‘irrational’ and who is in fact, pulling the strings.
*My intention here is to clarify my first post. I understand that sometimes I don’t come across as being perfectly clear. I did my best to rephrase it above, in my response.