Thursday, March 18, 2010

Excessive Self-Interest

Thoughts devoted to improving the election process arise from dissatisfaction with the society fostered by our government. We want to select better representatives because we want to improve our lot. Reasoning our way through the causes and effects of our dissatisfaction is a complex and difficult task. Sometimes the search lets us view ourselves from an unfamiliar perspective.

For example, although I've never heard this view expressed by others, it seems a concept worth pondering:

"A society with no penalty for the excessive pursuit of self-interest is flawed".

When we think about the way societies develop, we should not be surprised that there are no such penalties. Those who lead the society are, by definition, those who pursue their self-interest most ardently. It would be unreasonable to expect such people to welcome restraints. Hence, the corollary:

"Penalizing the excessive pursuit of self-interest will not occur from the top down, it must flow from the bottom up."

History is replete with evidence that this is true, but we rarely think of societal problems from this perspective. When we do, we tend to act in a violent, explosive manner. We would be better served by focusing our attention on such glaring issues as the need to select better representatives before they inspire revolutionary fervor.


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