We ignore the elephant because doing so is strategic.

Self-deception allows us to act selfishly without having to appear quite so selfish in front of others.

Another benefit of confronting our hidden motives is that, if we choose, we can take steps to mitigate or counteract them.

One promising approach to institutional reform is to acknowledge people’s need to show off, but to divert their efforts away from wasteful activities and toward those with bigger benefits and positive externalities.

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