But only up to a point. People are not always rational. What JFC Fuller called the myth of the Heroic Man is to a greater or lesser extent always in conflict with the myth of the Economic Man. Neither myth is terribly healthy, as we're not all one thing nor all the other.
Unfortunately both major UK parties are full subscribers to the myth of Britons as Economic Men.
Labour see that 'you are what you have' - and it doesn't matter how you got it. Hence the idea that being poor is somehow in itself a stigma and disgrace - to be removed by state transfers of cash. Pretty much the direct opposite of their founding beliefs, that an honest working man, no matter how poor, could - and should - be able to look anyone in the eye. But it's a long time since Labour was the party of the honest working man.
Tories see that 'you are what you make' - and it doesn't matter how you make it. Wasn't David Cameron's previous existence spent doing PR for upmarket vertical drinking establishments ?
I'm more of Martin Kelly's mind (he's quoting here) :
Which, as he says, is how we end up with Billy Aitchison and Sonny Devlin.
"(Economics) has moved into the void left by the decline of religion and the moral consensus; and it is increasingly seen as the main preoccupation of public policy, a panacea for social ills, the source even of private contentment. From being a technical subject, explaining human society in the way that medicine explains the human body, it threatens to become an end in itself, laying down goals, motives, incentives."
It's not one or the other, it's more or less. Don't forget Heroic Man, don't forget Original Sin and don't forget Original Damn Foolishness - the unwise decisions of clever men are likely to impact us much more then the unwisdom of the stupid, because clever men will be in positions to make decisions which affect us all. Vortigern thought he was maximising his utility when he hired Hengist and Horsa, but it turned out they had their own ideas about utility.
The worshippers of the Gods of the Market Place should ponder the end that attended Gabriel Oak's dog George, shot in "another instance of the untoward fate which so often attends dogs and other philosophers who follow out a train of reasoning to its logical conclusion, and attempt perfectly consistent conduct in a world made up so largely of compromise".
Trouble is, we may by then have suffered the fate of his sheep !