Moral Markets: Paul Zak discusses Oxytocin, Trade, and Human Nature


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"Our biology really tells us that, at our hearts, we're libertarians." So says Paul J. Zak, who spoke recently at Reason Foundation's annual Reason Weekend.

Zak is the founding director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies at Claremont Graduate University and is credited with the first published use of the term "neuroeconomics," a new discipline that integrates neuroscience and economics. Zak discusses his "oxytocin argument," which he explores in the book Moral Markets: The Critical Role of Values in the Economy.

In 2004, Zak's lab discovered that the chemical oxytocin (best known for inducing labor in women) allows us to determine whom to trust in situations that require exchange. That's the same trust that makes trade possible and underpins modern economies.

Approximately 14 minutes-long. Filmed by Alex Manning and Paul Detrick; Editd by Hawk Jensen.

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