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self-interest


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Regard exclusively to one's own advantage. The false belief that rationality and self‐interest are the same thing has bedevilled rational‐choice approaches to politics. Because examples of altruism are all around us, many people have rejected rational choice out of hand. Some careless or provocative statements by leading rational‐choice theorists such as Anthony Downs and Gordon Tullock have encouraged this misconception. A better approach is to say that, until evidence to the contrary is produced, it is best to assume that people are neither more nor less self‐interested in politics than in the rest of social life.

Subjects: Politics.


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