Big Picture Thinking produces a better result than self-interest.
When you consider the "big picture" you consider how your actions affect people beyond yourself. "Self-interested" thinking, on the other hand, focuses only on what you want for yourself.
Self-interested behavior has long been accepted as a cornerstone of economic theory that arose in the 1700s and is still widely accepted today. The theory assumes that each person will pursue their own self-interest within the marketplace, and this will result in an equilibium price for products that balances the competing wishes of those who want to buy and those who want to sell. This is considered to be a solution that is satisfactory for everyone.
However, often the real-world doesn't conform to that theory. Self-interest can have results that make everyone unhappy. As an illustration of this, check out this:
The story of the devious politician.
This same effect has been demonstrated in the NewWorld computer simulation, that shows the effect of various behaviors across generations. Individuals who seek to gain personal advantages for themselves rather than sharing and helping each other tend to weaken a society, and if unchecked that kind of behavior can destroy a society. Check out:
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Copyright Arthur de Leyssac, 2015, All Rights Reserved.