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Can Millennials Become The Most Complete Version Of Homo-Economicus?

Muamer Hirkić
August 24, 2018

Homo-Economicus can be defined as a rational being who pursues wealth for his own self-interest. John Stewart Mills defined it as one “who inevitably does that by which he may obtain the greatest amount of necessaries, conveniences, and luxuries, with the smallest quantity of labor and physical self-denial with which they can be obtained.”

Daniel Defoe’s character of Robinson Crusoe has always been seen as a great example of Homo-Economicus. Daniel Defoe was a man of many different careers during his lifetime who was seeking an opportunity to pay all the debts he got himself into and eventually went bankrupt. We have to keep in mind that even the novel was Defoe’s attempt to try his luck into kind of a business he had never done before to earn money and to pay his debts. In the novel when Robinson Crusoe becomes completely aware of the situation he got himself into, he immediately starts to use any available resources that he can find in the hostile environment he is in. This is a character of Homo-Economicus.

He was always seeking ways to expand his business by traveling to remote places and learning new ways to get richer. Crusoe is the product of Defoe’s individualistic age. He is not a very spiritual man. His relationship with God is business-like. The only time he prays is when he needs something from God that is out of his hands. In general, Robinson Crusoe is an individual independent of God who does not wait for a miracle to be saved, but rather finds a way to save himself. Crusoe’s mastery over nature makes him master of his own fate. In the novel, Crusoe appears to be a voyager looking for a land of opportunity who does not leave an opportunity for his welfare unused and can adapt to changes. Crusoe is a creative mind as well.

So the question is, how can millennials fit the description, and have a potential to be the most accomplished version of Homo-Economicus? I have listed the possible reasons that can make Millennials the Homo-Economicus, closely looking at the context of Robinson Crusoe:

  • Land of opportunity: The land of opportunity of the 21st century is the digital world. Almost every business nowadays is done in some form of digital environment. The knowledge of this world could be of crucial importance for their successful ventures.
  • Possibility to travel around the globe: Desire and possibility to travel around the globe put them in a very good position for exploring different possibilities in every corner of our planet.
  • Opportunities: There are more opportunities for young people than ever before. Starting from universities and education, different scholarships, events and conferences, millennials get the chance to meet different people and learn.
  • Adaptation to changes: The ability to accept changes and transformations on daily basis is very important trait of young people. Sometimes, this transformation means radical changes, and it is far easier for one millennial to undergo these changes than someone older who likes to stay in the comfort zone.
  • Fresh ideas: The leaders of creative ideas in the digital and real world are millennials. The most successful artists, content creators, and entrepreneurs are being younger and younger. There are many examples of successful young people under the age of 25.
  • Ambition: The key attribute of every young person is the ambition. It is the main force that drives every millennial. This desire keeps them focused on their goal, and keeps them going forward.

These descriptions make the Millennials strong candidates for the title of Homo-Economicus. Let’s delve into ourselves to know the fact.

About the author

Muamer Hirkić

Hirkić is a graduate in English Language and Literature from the University of Sarajevo


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