Economic Stability

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's November 2001

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The article "The Selfishness of the Unselfish" offers a concise observation from the liberal economists' perspective that those individuals and groups who lobby and advocate for policies and government regulation of run-away capitalism in the name of unselfishness are actually just as, if not more, "greedy" and "selfish" than the policies and institutions they claim to be fighting. The author, Boudreaux, describes a brief encounter he had with a woman, several years ago, who was actively involved in the city of Atlanta's historical-preservation movement and who vocally rebuked "greedy developers" for destroying or renovating older homes and destroying these homes' "historical integrity." The problem with this woman's argument, the author claims, is that, while she believes herself to be selfless, with the interest of preserving history and its dignity, she is actually being greedy by forcing her beliefs and opinions upon other people in the city, who may not be able to afford living in renovated, "historically accurate" housing.

The author then goes on to describe a few instances where groups of individuals who claim to be watching over the good of society are actually advocating policies that benefit only some people at the expense of others. For example, environmentalists often vocally and passionately oppose what the author refers to as "capitalist greed." However, while the environmental policies might benefit the environmentalists, they do so at the expense of other consumers who might benefit from the greater supply of goods and services that would be available if there weren't any of these output-reducing policies. At the end of the article, the author warns against those who protest for greater government involvement in the economy who are unable to support their protests and demands with sound, logical, well-researched evidence and reason. Most of those people who are quickest to rile and...