cost-benefit calculator


Senior Member

All the assumptions economists make about economic man are absent in these [hunter-gatherer] societies. People in immediate return societies are not acquisitive, self-centred cost-benefit calculators. In these societies, it can be most clearly seen that economic man as a universal type is a fiction.

--- Does "cost-benefit calculators" mean "materialists stiving after benefits"?​
  • cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    Hello novice_81,

    It does not mean "materialists striving after benefits". A cost-benefit calculator, including a person with such characteristics, measures the anticipated benefits of an action or series of actions. It also calculates expected costs. It shows when the value of the benefits exceeds costs, or is equal to costs, or is less than costs. The person then decides, strictly on the basis of expected benefits and costs, whether or not to take a course of action.

    The benefits are usually material, but do not have to be material. For example, one might attribute a monetary value to the pleasure of a vacation, and then decide, based on expected costs, if the vacation is "a good bargain".



    I think you've pretty much got it, though I would say that I think it means 'materialists who decide what they're going to do having first worked out if the benefits will outweigh the cost of the effort.'

    Sorry that's a bit long-winded.
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