Nietzsche and the Economics of Becoming

30 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2013

See all articles by Richard Robb

Richard Robb

Columbia University - School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA); Christofferson, Robb and Company


Freud supposedly said that Nietzsche knew himself better than anyone who ever lived or is likely to live in the future. If the story is true, it's one of the best compliments of all time. Yet Nietzsche's psychological theories remain largely unknown to psychologists, philosophers andcertainly to economists. These theories, taken together, constitute a profound attack on the foundations of neoclassical models in which individuals maximize the discounted flow of gratification they expect to receive. Scattered through Nietzsche's writings, we can find an alternative description of intertemporal choice motivated by overcoming obstacles. A principal objective of this paper is to show how Nietzsche's theory of overcoming can explain a great deal of observable behavior and solve important problems in economics.

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Suggested Citation

Robb, Richard, Nietzsche and the Economics of Becoming. Capitalism and Society, Vol. 4, Issue 1, Article 3, 2009, Available at SSRN:

Richard Robb (Contact Author)

Columbia University - School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA) ( email )

420 West 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

Christofferson, Robb and Company

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