The Rich Life of Homo Economicus

Homo Economicus or James Peterson as his friends called him was a confident teenager just entering the prime of his life. However, despite his confidence James had some very difficult choices ahead of him.

During High School, James played in a hardcore punk band called “The Rotting Mung Beans.”  James acquired a great deal of pleasure from playing in the band, and according to his calculation playing in this band was what gave him the largest percentage of the overall pleasure that he acquired through living. According to his calculation playing in “The Rotting Mung Beans” accounted for 40% of the pleasure that he gained on an average week while spending time with friends and family gave him 35% of his pleasure in an average week.

James was a fine guitarist and “The Rotting Mung Beans” had developed a significant following within the Sequoiaville area. Their sound could be compared to  Black Flag, the Dead Boys and Minor Threat.  After realizing how much pleasure he derived from playing in the band, and their relative likelihood of success, James made the difficult decision of not entering a post-secondary institution so he could devote all of his time to playing with his band. While this decision was difficult for him to make, it was fairly simple. James merely discerned that he would gain the most pleasure and experience the least amount of pain if he took this path.  Even though James had graduated at the top of his class and could have pursued any profession this was irrelevant as according to his calculation every other life path he could have taken, besides playing with “The Rotting Mung Beans,” would yield more expected pain and less expected pleasure. In fact, he had discovered that the level of expected pleasure he would gain by devoting his time to playing in his band was 50% higher than the rate of expected pleasure that he would gain by pursuing any other career. Likewise, the rate of expected pain that he would experience by devoting his time to playing in his band was 30% lower than any other life path that he had before him. 

James applied this decision procedure to all of his decisions, and this decision procedure was not something that he had constructed, but rather it was something that was a natural part of his constitution. Making decision in any other way was unthinkable to him. He thought to himself “how could anyone make a decision in any way except according to the rational weighing of expected pains and pleasures? Surely any other method would be irrational and artificial.”                

Furthermore, this decision making method had worked for him in the past. While he had never done something magnanimous or honorable, he had managed to live a pleasant life thus far. Furthermore, he was a well-regarded person, because even though he was not particularly charming, his decision procedure had led him to treat people with respect, as this would ensure that no one would prevent him from leading his life according to his decision procedure.