Economy featured

Loss Aversion

March 15, 2023

Recorded March 7, 2023


On this Frankly, Nate reflects on his experiences in the financial industry with the cognitive bias Loss Aversion and the ways it may manifest to the coming material throughput declines during The Great Simplification. Why do losses feel so much stronger to us than gains – even when we have an overabundance of wealth? Can being aware of this evolved psychological trait diffuse its intensity? How does this affect our ability to perceive and plan for the reality of less available energy and resources in the future?

PDF Transcript

Show Notes

00:25 – Loss Aversion

00:56 – Salomon Brothers, Lehman Brothers

04:52 – Psychological responses to the Great Depression

06:23 – Identity and in-groups

06:57 – Supernormal stimuli

07:25 – Green New Deal

07:43 – Renewables are useful but can’t power current civilization

08:13 – Material limits to happiness

08:51 – Deep Time

09:05 – Biodiversity loss


Teaser photo credit: Crowds outside the Bank of United States in New York after its failure in 1931. By World Telegram staff photographer – Library of Congress. New York World-Telegram & Sun Collection., Public Domain,

Nate Hagens

Nate Hagens

Nate Hagens is the Director of The Institute for the Study of Energy & Our Future (ISEOF) an organization focused on educating and preparing society for the coming cultural transition. Allied with leading ecologists, energy experts, politicians and systems thinkers ISEOF assembles road-maps and off-ramps for how human societies can adapt to lower throughput lifestyles. Nate holds a Masters Degree in Finance with Honors from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont. He teaches an Honors course, Reality 101, at the University of Minnesota.

Tags: building resilient economies, material throughput, powering down, Resource Depletion