Economics Is About Thinking With Your Heart

A?recent episode of NBC’s 30 Rock provided a wonderful insight into thinking like an economist.

At the six-minute point, Alec Baldwin‘s character, Jack Donaghy, is trying to choose which love interest to pursue, and decides to follow his heart.? But by this, he means the acronym for:






So yes, we economists always advocate thinking with your HEART.


Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you're fired.


What a romantic!


"Harry was greatly relieved that a logical formula existed to solve his conflict. So he took his time, wrote down all the important reasons he could think of, weighed them carefully, and went through the calculation. When he saw the result, something unexpected happened. An inner voice told him that it wasn't right. And for the first time, Harry realized that his heart had already decided - against the calculation and in favor of the other girl. The calculus helped to find the solution, but not because of its logic. It brought an unconscious decision to his awareness, based on reasons obscure to him."

Gerd Gigerenzer, Gut Feelings

A truly rational person wouldn't be able to decide anyways - they'd get bogged down in multitudes of minor details, trapped in a spiral of intractable calculus, much like those with a damaged orbitofrontal cortex.


I happened to see this episode of 30 rock. The funny part about this is that Jack was not able to decide between two women using the HEART acronym. Although it is a clever saying, i find it ironic that a man using an economists' term was not able to make decisons and get things done. Could this reflect how economists get things done in the U.S.? And i have one final thought for Mr. Doneghy, why on earth would you try to decide between two women when you can have both?