Essay Example: Self Interest vs. The Merits in Politics

Published: 2022-09-09
Essay Example: Self Interest vs. The Merits in Politics
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Politics
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1474 words
13 min read

Politics are a combination of both the self-interests and the merits which involves the general public's interest. Self-interest is having a primary concern for oneself which involves engaging in activities because one expects something in the future or may benefit in the long run as a result. The self-interest exhibits a certain degree of complexity in dealing with issues. Nonetheless, it does not completely drive the human economic or political behavior of individuals. Self-interest is neither a transparent principle for individuals to guide their actions nor does it indicate a set of features shared by the general public. Other moral "sentiments" or motives, for instance, benevolence can curb or balance the self-interest.

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Underlying assumptions regarding the adversary democracy led to the ensued clarity about the dual effect. Many were inspired to work out in the implications of the actual politics and the provocative details of the logic of self-interested actions. The factual accuracy of the theories was also challenged. Many people including the contract theorists and Sophists of the 4th and 5th century BC have argued that we tend to come together in political associations due to mutual defense or self-interested reasons (Kluegel, James & Eliot, 78).

The issue of personal economic well-being and political behavior has been a subject in much theory and research. In Washington however, there is less or not survey data to conclude that there is a relationship between the financial well-being and political behavior and attitude. People are able to take responsibility for their economic problems. Self-interest does not coincide with the liberal tradition nor with the concept used in the economic theory which acts as an explicit assumption for maximizing utility. The merits like the rational choice theory should focus on the idea that all people use rational thinking prior to making their decisions. The individuals are seen by this theory to act within their own self-interests in that they consider both the benefits and the costs of their different options. These involve the pros and cons of the decisions. The political domain in Washington or any other place ought to use their self-interest in making the decisions which help them obtain the desired outcome.

The political domain is the judge of their own "interest" which sheds light on the hypothetical disposition to improve a condition. The shared notion of self-interest points to some important problems to consider regarding the capacity of the Washington market to realize an impulsive order which will be able to increase the public wealth (Ehrenreich, 3). The political sphere in the United States has always been divided along the economic gains. The important factors of self-interest are seen at both the micro and macro levels of politics once we look at both the "inputs" and "outputs" (Kluegel, James & Eliot, 48).

There are always forces between the good and the evil, and the created free enterprise system adheres to the laws of supply and demand whereby people ethically and genuinely pursue a profit. This whole process has made the country strong. Nevertheless, humans moral and intellectual limitations have led to the greed of some people who put self-interests before the merits (Bosse, Douglas & Robert 278). As a result of these factors, a government and laws are introduced with balances and checks and a free will enterprise system that seeks to eliminate corruption.

In many capitalist nations, capital owners know their self-interest and consequently which determines their real and subjective perceptions of interest. The real interest particularly coincides with the endeavors to improve the personal circumstances in increasing private wealth. This has allowed the capitalist nations to become very progressive and powerful because everyone the principle of "turning a penny wherever a penny was to be got" applies (Ehrenreich, 4). Nevertheless, the capital owner always has some respect from, and even opposite to that of the public which involves widening the market and narrowing competition. This is an indication that selfish behavior may derive as we apply the notion of self-interest.

Real self-interest can only allow actions when it is consistent with the public interest. Private and public wealth growth is an essential condition for the market order. If the capital owner is selfish, economic giants may increase their wealth as market orders may fail, and the damages will be experienced by the public. Unlike the self-interest in economic gains, the people in politics are driven by the self-interest rather than the merits or the common good and societal values.

The selfish gains by merchants are losses for other individuals in the free competitive market the selfish interests prevail over the real and appropriate ones. In economic terms, the real self-interests or merit involves investing in opportunities and the ability to invest in the most profitable means for the general growth of the population or industry. Between the two alternatives, the people can always choose between two options, selfish or self-interests (Gogol et al. 67). Also, it is supported by the notion that every individual is motivated to pursue their "own interest" and it is not their intentions to promote social welfare.

Even the political elite and the well-informed agents certainly lack to consider how their choices modify the public well-being. The convergence of the private and public welfare is consequently brought out. Politicians and capital owners sometimes consider knowledge of the general interest as not a condition that influences their decisions. Nevertheless, the merits are achieved unintentionally by the "invisible hand." Just like any other agents the political elite and the capital owners will act in accordance with their aims, views, and preferences (Kluegel, James & Eliot, 34).

The structure position of the political elites and the capital owners is an important determinant of the private interest representation. Their superior views with respect to the other society classes can also influence their selfish views informing decisions. Throughout history, especially in America, it is easy to note instances where people took self-interest stands and the rhetoric behind it which was used to justify those stances. An example of the history is the 18th-century controversy regarding the federal government assuming the Revolutionary War debt from the counties or the most controversial issue in America, slavery. Both of the sides identified Self-interests in both issues (Gogol et al. 56). For instance, in the new federal government and revolutionary war controversy, both sides gave philosophical reasons for their position including the benefits of establishing faith and credit for the United States versus the federal power. States favoring the idea was experiencing a lot of war debt while the states opposing it had already paid all their debt. People who were heavily into it was because of its influence on the economy of their states. The largely agricultural southern states needed slaves while the northern region especially in industrialized areas, slavery was dying out and becoming less economically viable and hence to the people it was barbaric (Berry, Jeffrey & Clyde, 43).

We can try as much as possible to tell ourselves today that self-interests are not reality but eventually it is true. Some political scientists even argue that when voting, people are not motivated by the self-interest but based on the history of psychology that is the case. The scientists have tried to explain that humans tend not to understand their own motivation in that personal interests are inclusive of friends and family's' interests (Bosse, Douglas & Robert 284). In the United States, the group one falls under already determines their views dominant issues including group barriers or discrimination and set-asides or affirmative action. These groups may include males, whites, Christians, citizens, heterosexuals or traditionally subservient groups such as immigrants, blacks, Jews, transsexuals Hispanics, Muslims, gays, nonbelievers, and females (Berry, Jeffrey & Clyde, 45).


From the above, it is clear that different factors determine the logic of self-interest and the merits in both the political elite and the capital owners. Self-interests have been important factors for the growth and development of this country because as one seeks to fulfill their desire, they also help many people gain the benefits. American history has already indicated to us that people have relied upon the self-interest in making the decisions regarding matters affecting them. This has led to the groups and subgroups in the society that eventually determine how people see the group barriers and set-asides.

Work citedKluegel, James R., and Eliot R. Smith. Beliefs about inequality: Americans' views of what is and what ought to be. Routledge, 2017.

Berry, Jeffrey M., and Clyde Wilcox. The interest group society. Routledge, 2018.

Ehrenreich, John. Third wave capitalism: How money, power, and the pursuit of self-interest have imperiled the American dream. Cornell University Press, 2016.

Bosse, Douglas A., and Robert A. Phillips. "Agency theory and bounded self-interest." Academy of Management Review 41.2 (2016): 276-297.

Gogol, Katarzyna, et al. "Affect and motivation within and between school subjects: Development and validation of an integrative structural model of academic self-concept, interest, and anxiety." Contemporary Educational Psychology 49 (2017): 46-65.

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