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Self Interest And Self-Interest

Decent Essays
You walk into a store and see a shirt that you want is on sale for only $20. A few feet away, is a collection box for a local charity, pleading for cash donations. Even though you see the box, you still continue with buying the shirt that is on sale. This is an example of an everyday decision that is made in regard to self-interest; often without even realizing it. Self-interest is generally defined as, “the concern for one’s own advantage or well-being,” and ultimately acting upon our “own interests.” In this case, the shirt that you just bought brings you some level of satisfaction, but if you were to donate that $20 to a local charity, it would be in the benefit of someone else who may be struggling to purchase basic necessities, or put food on the table for their family. It is not uncommon for humans to act in their own self-interest. Economist Adam Smith argues that “every man is, no doubt, by nature, first and principally recommended to his own care.” In essence, humans are naturally self-interested, as we are more inclined to put our desires before the needs and wants of others. That being said, self-interest can be viewed as the primary underlying motivator for economic activities, levels of competition in the marketplace, and serves as an influential factor in politics. While it may be beneficial in certain realms, in others, it can be detrimental to the self, and the people whom that decision effects. Acting in our own self-interest drives our decisions in
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