- Capitalism and Alternatives -

I'm intrinsically designed to disagree...

Posted by: bill on September 09, 1999 at 11:25:14:

In Reply to: Trees and plants are intrinsically designed to survive. posted by David on September 09, 1999 at 00:47:44:

: : SDF: "Self-interest" still means nothing. People are not motivated by "themselves," they have real, nameable motivations. Lust, altruism, hunger, curiosity, pleasure, agony, each of these explains something. "Self-interest" doesn't.

<: Self-Interest is the motive of performing actions that further the organisms life.>


When I sit down to a meal I say to myself, "Boy, am I hungry". I do not say to myself: "It is in my self-interest that I now consume 800 calories". There are receptors in my brain that produce "pleasure" when I smoke a cigarette. This too may be interpreted as "self-interest", though not particularly wise. In other words, Everything one does may be regarded through a self-interest lens, from inflicting torture to serving food in a leper colony.

We can, however, evaluate behavior. We can discover that Jane is generous and giving while Diane is selfish and self-centered. Both may be acting out of "self-interest" - but what does *that* tell us? As SDF says: "Nothing"

The REAL reason for all this flabberwock is that it sounds so much more reasonable to speak of CEO salaries in terms of a natural 'intrinsic' self-interest rather than something that might possibly be construed as pejoritive - like "greedy" or "selfish" by 'extrinsic' observers.

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