When a farmer leaves some unharvested crops in the field, they are not "wasted." Real waste would be found in efforts to use up every last physical resource, no matter how costly those efforts might be.
The idea that people are driven by fear of losses more than they are by the potential for gain has attained a sort of dogmatic adherence among behavioral economists. But there's a problem: the theory isn't true.
There is a growing drumbeat from some high-profile economists to reassure Americans that large increases in income and wealth taxes won’t distort labor markets. Yet much of their arguments are very misleading.
The free-market doctrine does not rest on an assumption that consumers make wise choices. Like the mythical “economic man,” the Perfectly Wise Individual is a straw man created by the critics of the theory.