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Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 38, Issue 1–2, pp 3–17 | Cite as

The Human Face of Self-Interest

  • Ian Maitland
Article

Abstract

Moralists tend to have a low opinion of self-interest. It is seen as force that has to be controlled or transcended. This essay tries to get beyond the bifurcation of human motivations into self-interest (which is seen as vicious or non-moral) and concern for others (which is virtuous). It argues that there are some surprising affinities between self-interest and morality. Notably the principal force that checks self-interest is self-interest itself. Consequently, self-interest often coincides with and reinforces the commands of morality and promotes civility and consideration for others. Therefore it provides us with resources for constructing a more humane and civil society.

Keywords

Economic Growth Civil Society Human Face Human Motivation Principal Force 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian Maitland
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MinnesotaU.S.A.

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