Economics often starts with the outlandish assumption that everyone was perfectly rational and perfectly egoistic. Let’s reverse the second part and start with the following, perhaps even more outlandish counterfactual situation:
- Everyone is perfectly rational
- Everyone is a perfect altruist
In that hypothetical scenario, what would be the most effective economic system? How would people get organized to reach their altruistic goals as effectively as possible?
Some more specific questions:
- Would markets work worse or better in that scenario?
- Is there a need for taxation, if everyone is rational and altruistic? Wouldn’t people just allocate their resources optimally without the need for a government?
- Would people fund a basic income voluntarily, or would they settle for a different approach?
- How would the monetary system work?
- Would there be banks that handed out loans?
- What kinds of organizations would provide goods and services?
- How would those organizations be structured?
- What level of economic inequality would there be? Where would that inequality come from?
- Would people implement a working gift economy?
- Would they implement some kind of meritocracy?
Or you could just ignore those questions and start thinking about economic activity from scratch given the basic assumption that people are perfectly altruistic (even if they aren’t perfectly rational at the same time).