Through tradition we are conditioned to except certain erroneous ideas as facts. Example from the Declaration of independence: People’s are “Endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights,” In the first system our creator gave the world, ordinary people had no rights at all. Kings and some other leaders were assumed to possess divine rights but that was it. Individual rights are a concept that was evolved into. For many thousands of years, common people served a master like a king or chief.
At the time of the American Revolution, the colonists were in a unique set of circumstances. In Europe intellectuals were entertaining the idea of individual rights for a number of years. The colonists were separated from England by a great distance, adventurous by nature and detached to a certain degree from the king’s authority. A confluence of unlikely events and circumstances gave them the mentality to try a new form of government based on individual rights.
As great as individual right are, people are still instinctively predisposed to live under and serve a master. Further, they are instinctively predisposed to look to a master to provide security and solve problems collectively. Over years, people have empowered government not because of some kind of intellectual wisdom but because of instinctive impulses they cannot resist. When commentators go on television and talk about government creating jobs and making the economy better, this is not an exercise in intellect. It is instinctive to assume government can do these things. Any serious investigation of the facts shows that collective actions such as these work against the best interests of society and individuals. Instinctive actions are so natural, that people do not realize they are not thinking.
The discipline of economics assumes that individuals make decisions by free will. On occasion they do when acting as individuals in the market place. When participating in collective decision making people act mostly out instinct and usually without thinking at all. The phenomenon of individuals having economic freedom is an evolutionary advancement. Unfortunately individuals are instinctively driven to give government roles that are destructive to their interests.
A certain segment of the population sees the wisdom of having and maintaining a free market economic system. The free market characteristics of our economic system are solely responsible for our high standard of living. The fact that the market system is still operating is a miracle given that people are driven by instinct to destroy it and return to the old system where everyone serves the government.
Mainstream economists assume that decisions are made through intellect when in fact a great number are instinctively driven. When an economic model fails or a forecast is inaccurate, chances are one or more basic assumptions are erroneous.