Some musings and reflections upon Star Trek (The Next Generation and a few of its successors for those keeping score), reminded me that the Ferengi had an extensive list of economic rules. The characters, from my recollection, were portrayed as a race of uber-capitalists who would exploit for the sake of profit at every turn. Doing a quick search turned up The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition.
My academic interest in the topic and the reason for posting a list of rules from a race that was often used for comic relief stems from the research program of rational choice and its implementation through Game Theory. In fact, the intended nature of the comedy shines a nice split between game theoretical expectations and actual laboratory experiments. The Ferengi are homo economicus.
Just a handful:
1. Once you have their money … never give it back.
3. Never pay more for an acquisition than you have to.
4. Never allow family to stand in the way of opportunity.(Finite, iterated Prisoner's Dilemma, Trust Game)
10. Greed is eternal.
(Basic tenent of Rational Choice – though proponents would not call it greed).
41. Profit is its own reward.
(Maybe just utils are their own reward)
189. Let others keep their reputation. You keep their money.
The applicable list is much, much longer.
A bit of Quark (the most prominent Ferengi in Star Trek) and bartender talk:
Quark as Godfather, practicing Rule 177: