Thursday, December 17, 2009

Self-Interest

I notice that I hold the power of self-interest as a truth. Kind of like an ‘Of course, how could it be otherwise?’

So when I see people asking ‘What’s in it for me?’ I see it as a legitimate concern, a natural way of being. If you want someone to do something, it will serve your self-interest to take their ‘What’s in it for me?’ into consideration.

OK, so if I’m right how do I explain situations in which people or groups appear to act against their self-interest? For example:

1. The Israelis think it doesn’t matter that their actions further isolate them in a hostile neighborhood.

2. The Iranians think that they can thumb their nose at the world and it will further the Islamic Republic.

3. Senators and Congress people vote against the wishes and needs of the people who elected them.

4. The Government of Pakistan goes out of its way to make life difficult for Americans who are in their country to further the aims of the Government of Pakistan.

5. Those who want to throw out all undocumented immigrants pursue their passion even though doing so will come back to bite them in the ass.

6. And the reverse – making it difficult for new talent to come here even though allowing them in will contribute to our well being.

7. Protectors of copyrights, music, film, TV and the rest behave as if the Internet and the 21st Century hasn’t happened.

8. Unions want to protect jobs that ultimately cannot be protected.

I can go on, but you get the point. Here’s the answer:

They are following what they perceive to be their self-interest. In that sense they are validating my original assumption. What’s happening, though, is that they are stubborn, fixated on the pursuit of a narrow self-interest that prevents them from seeing the bigger picture. They are willfully blind to a larger context that would allow them to further their real self-interest.

They are righteous, sure that their way is the best way. They demonstrate the power of another truth: Being pigheaded trumps a clear vision.

1 Comments:

Blogger LEE294 said...

DAN, I READ ALL OF YOUR BLOGS BUT THIS ONE I HAVE TO DISAGREE WITH. WHEN PEOPLE(LIKE ME)HAVE A OPINION, IT DOES NOT ALWAYS STEM FROM SELF INTEREST.I WOULD SUGGEST PERHAPS IT STEMS FROM EXPERIENCE.
MY PARENTS CAME TO THIS COUNTRY FROM ANOTHER. TO GAIN ACCESS THEY HAD TO FOLLOW THE LAW AND ANY HARDSHIP RELATED TO FOLLOWING THE LAW THEY HAD TO ENDURE. THAT PROCEDURE ALLOWED THEM TO ALL THE BENIFITS THAT THIS COUNTRY PROVIDED, BECAUSE THEY DID IT LEGALY.
AS FOR THOSE WHO COME HERE ILEGALLY, AND WANT TO REAP THE BENIFITS, I SAY GO HOME AND START THE PROCCESS LEGALLY. THERE IS NO SELF INTEREST IN THAT THOUGHT PROCESS IN MY MIND WITH ONE EXCEPTION.THAT IS I DONT WANT TO PAY FOR THE BENIFITS THEY GAIN. ALL I ASK IS THAT THEY DO IT UNDER OUR LAWS. IF THE PEOPLE DONT LIKE THE LAWS,CHANGE THEM.
NICK

9:29 AM  

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