From forgeries to COVID-denial, Tim Harford on how we fool ourselves
Whether believing implausible statistics or falling for frauds, humans are addicted to wishful thinking. In this absorbing piece for the Financial Times, Undercover Economist Tim Harford takes a deep dive into the human psyche behind 'wishful thinking'. Using the example of the 'Christ at Emmaus' forgery by Dutch art dealer Han van Meegeren, Harford reflects on how our desire to believe what makes sense to us eventually clouds our judgement, to far-reaching consequences. "In recent years, I have seen people believe that Donald Trump is the perfect person to clean up corruption in politics; that the British government 'holds all the cards' in Brexit negotiations with the EU; that COVID-19 is no worse than flu and that if we only lifted lockdowns it would fade away. There are certain things that large numbers of people believe, despite the most straightforward evidence to the contrary. I wanted to understand why we work so hard to fool ourselves."
From Financial Times