The economic metaphors between the brain and money

The study of the human brain and monetary systems may seem, at first glance, an unusual comparison. However, both have structures and dynamics that, when analyzed in depth, reveal surprising similarities and provide us with valuable metaphors to better understand both neuroscience and economics.

Roger Sperry, with his research on the corpus callosum, the nerve fibers that connect the cerebral hemispheres, demonstrated how they interact and the implications of this relationship in diseases such as epilepsy. His findings earned him the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology in 1981.

The left hemisphere of the brain is responsible for linear, logical, verbal, hierarchical and sequential functions. In contrast, the right hemisphere is intuitive, imaginative, visual, integrative and holistic. These hemispheres, although specialized, work together to interpret the world.

Left hemisphere: Controls logic, speech, arithmetic and analysis. It predominates in rational and detail-oriented individuals.

Right hemisphere: It is related to creativity, emotions and imagination, predominating in intuitive and creative people.

Extreme specialization in the use of one of the hemispheres to interpret the world can be extremely dangerous, as illustrated by the legend of King Midas, who, upon turning everything he touched into gold, including his own daughter, faced a tragedy. This story highlights the importance of balancing the capabilities of both hemispheres.

Western culture has been dominated by the masculine archetype, associated with competition and authority. To balance this trend, it is crucial to integrate feminine values ​​such as cooperation, empathy and equality. The principles of yin and yang are applicable here: both elements are interdependent and necessary for healthy balance.

Western economic language, designed for the Industrial Revolution, focuses on physical, financial, and intellectual capital (yang capital) while ignoring social and natural capital (ying capital). Ying capital is invaluable and essential to the survival of yang capital.

Yang Capital: Includes physical and financial resources, promotes competition and accumulation.

Ying Capital: It encompasses social and natural capital, encourages cooperation and is not cumulative.

The current monetary system is based on compound interest, which contradicts biological and natural growth, which has cycles of acceleration, plateau and decline.

The concept of Tao conceives forces in interdependent pairs, as cooperation and competition, equality and hierarchy. A dual economic system that integrates yang and ying currencies could balance these values:

Yang Currency: Created by a central authority, it facilitates financial transactions.

Ying Currency: Decentralized, encourages cooperation and community exchanges.

Social and natural wealth must be recognized and valued as much as financial wealth. Resources should not be used beyond their regeneration capacity. The integration of ecological values ​​with technological innovations is crucial to avoid collapse.

Proposals such as the oxidation of money or negative interest encourage long-term investment and promote a more balanced and sustainable economy. Complementary currencies allow community and ethical projects to be valued, offering an alternative to the traditional monetary system.

The balance between the rational and creative aspects of the brain, as well as between yang and ying capitals, is essential for a healthy economy and society. The adoption of dual and complementary systems could help rebuild the social fabric and foster greater sustainability and equity. The challenge is to integrate these principles to create a future where cooperation and creativity are as valued as competition and accumulation.

In the Museum of History in New York there is a sign that says: “The world is not a legacy from our parents but a loan that our children make to us.”

An abundant and sustainable world must ensure the future of freedom and creativity. For this, resources should not be used above their capacity to regenerate, nor should pollution exceed the assimilation capacity of the environment.