Long ago Robin thought he had uncovered some ways to make the world a better place. He expected disagreement. Instead he got indifference. How could that be? This led Robin to becoming an economist and, eventually, an answer: we aren't motivated the way we say we are or think we should be. There are hidden motives and Robin's new book, The Elephant in the Brain, lays them out.
Robin is one of the most original thinkers of our time. I'll borrow my favorite description from Bryan Caplan, who put it best:
When the typical economist tells me about his latest research, my standard reaction is "Eh, maybe." Then I forget about it. When Robin Hanson tells me about his latest research, my standard reaction is "No way! Impossible!" Then I think about it for years.
This episode covers a lot of ground including Robin's journey to writing this book, what culture wants, whether there is any relationship between the elephant in the brain and cognitive biases, cultural plasticity and much more!