Sunday, 22 August 2010

Self-interest as an ideology

From Albert Hirschman's Shifting Involvements:
[T]he dogged pursuit of happiness along the private road is not, as we often tend to think, "what comes naturally"; rather, it is presided over and impelled by an ideology which justifies it, not only in terms of beneficial results for the individual pursuer, but as the surest and perhaps only way in which the individual can make a contribution to the common good. The ideological claims made for private life thus sustain the individual's quest with two messages: one, the promise of satisfaction and happiness; and two, the assurance that there is no need for guilt feelings or regrets over the neglect of public life.

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