To understand Christmas, go to the pub

The ???economics of the family??? is a prime example of an economic imperialism that seeks to account for all behaviour through a distorted concept of rationality, an extreme example of economists??? notorious physics envy. Some models developed in physics demonstrate a combination of simplicity and wide explanatory power so remarkable that it makes no sense to think about the world in any other way.

But such powerful explanations are rarely available in other natural sciences, and almost never in social sciences. Even the visit to the bar is governed by a complex and tacit collection of social conventions. How do you know that you have bought the beer but only rented the glass?

An economist and an anthropologist go into a bar… There’s a lot more to it.