Truth and Consequences: Some Economics of False Consciousness
Proponents of the concept of false consciousness argue that the phenomenon is most evident in the most important choices that people make, such as choices over occupation and marriage. We argue to the contrary. Economic analysis leads us to expect false consciousness in low consequence, low decisiveness environments. Individuals may find it rational to hold false beliefs only when the marginal private cost of holding those beliefs is low. False consciousness therefore is more likely to be found in the theories of academic social critics than in the subjects of their criticism.