Work and Meaning

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What motivates us to work? Contrary to conventional wisdom, it isn’t just money. But it’s not exactly joy either. It seems that most of us thrive by making constant progress and feeling a sense of purpose. Behavioral economist Dan Ariely presents two eye-opening experiments that reveal our unexpected and nuanced attitudes toward meaning in our work. (Filmed at TEDxRiodelaPlata.)

Dan Ariely

Despite our best efforts, bad or inexplicable decisions are as inevitable as death and taxes and the grocery store running out of your favorite flavor of ice cream. They're also just as predictable. Why, for instance, are we convinced that "sizing up" at our favorite burger joint is a good idea, even when we're not that hungry? Why are our phone lists cluttered with numbers we never call? Dan Ariely, behavioral economist, has based his career on figuring out the answers to these questions, and in his bestselling book Predictably Irrational (re-released in expanded form in May 2009), he describes many unorthodox and often downright odd experiments used in the quest to answer this question.

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    April 8, 2015 at 11:41 am

    to have rebutted Airely’s agurment, but surely not to have refuted it.Airely is not compelled to follow Rawls exactly. The reference to Rawls is a way of adding colour or clarity, not to fix the agurment within a specific framework.This is clear because Airely’s conclusion follows his data without any reference to Rawls. Asked what sort of income distribution they would refer, Americans responded with the more equitable distribution. Hence, all else being equal, Americans favour more equitable income distribution.

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