In An Economic Theory of Greed, Love, Groups, and Networks, Professor Paul Frijters presents a unified view of human societies, grounded in economic thought. Adding conceptual ingredients from outside economics – most notably love, power and the dynamics of groups and networks – to the traditional economic view, Frijters constructs for the reader an enhanced view of human societies that nevertheless retains the pursuit of self-interest as its core. The book will be of use to any economist wishing to condense the immense complexity of the socioeconomic system into simplified representations, for the purpose of designing policy. It also offers teachers and students a simple view of our socioeconomic system that can be digested in a short space of time.

Gigi Foster at the University of New South Wales is the supporting writer of An Economic Theory of Greed, Love, Groups, and Networks.

An Economic Theory of Greed, Love, Groups, and Networks is now available also in kindle edition @

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Further information on the book can be found on the Cambridge University Press website.

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Excerpts from the book:

“How could one possibly claim that greed is the reason that people pray, hug their children, give to charity, or defend their country in wartime? Taken at face value…..historical debates about whether or not humans ‘really’ consciously maximise their material wealth are arguably irrelevant to the predictive value of the Homo Economicus model. The model still retains value if indeed humans often act directly to further their wealth, and particulary if many of their own motivations also lead them to behave in ways that make it appear that they are maximizing wealth.”


“Engendering love in humans is not beyond our control: manipulating the love response can be learned. As such, one should expect any entity that survives for a long time, such as a country or a family dynasty, to work out how to engender loyalty in its members. In turn, the loyalty of individuals within such an entity gives rise to group power and the ability to erect elaborate structures upon the foundation of that group power.”


“The dominant groups in the world today are competing nation states, each containing millions of citizens living together more or less peacefully but still mainly striving for own gain. Many other types of groups have also been mentioned in previous chapters, including religious groups, families, army units, and scientific disciplines. They play an obvious role in making up the fabric of our socioeconomic system. Yet how did all of these groups arise, why are some more dominant than others, and how do they relate to individual humans?”