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An interview with Michael Muthukrishna

An interview with Michael Muthukrishna

by Michael Muthukrishna

Associate Professor of Economic Psychology at the London School of Economics

Jun 11, 2024


Q: You open your thought-provoking 2023 book, A Theory of Everyone, with a warning: “the forces that shape our thinking, our economies, and our societies have become invisible to us.” And you pose this as an existential problem, adding that, “If we cannot perceive the forces that shape us, we are impotent to shape these forces.” Were such forcesever really visible? And, if so, how, and why, and what leaves us “blind” to them today? Can we adopt corrective lenses of some sort?

A: Yes, what I mean by that is that you and I, and everyone alive today, were born into a world that we did not create. This includes our oldest politicians, our smartest scientists, our most successful entrepreneurs, and every other person right across the globe. And it’s not only that none of us created institutions we now take for granted— like the democratic separation of powers, norms like human rights, or systems like the market — it’s that the world is far too complicated for even the smartest among us to re-create. We are uniquely fortunate to belong to a species that has inherited— and continues to aggregate — the accumulated wisdom of generations upon generations and many lifetimes of experience.

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