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john renesch

The May issue of Vanity Fair features an article by Joseph Stiglitz that runs a very parallel theme to my post earlier this month. Here's my favorite paragraph from it:

“Alexis de Tocqueville once described what he saw as a chief part of the peculiar genius of American society—something he called “self-interest properly understood.” The last two words were the key. Everyone possesses self-interest in a narrow sense: I want what’s good for me right now! Self-interest “properly understood” is different. It means appreciating that paying attention to everyone else’s self-interest—in other words, the common welfare—is in fact a precondition for one’s own ultimate well-being. Tocqueville was not suggesting that there was anything noble or idealistic about this outlook—in fact, he was suggesting the opposite. It was a mark of American pragmatism. Those canny Americans understood a basic fact: looking out for the other guy isn’t just good for the soul—it’s good for business.”

The complete article can be found here: http://www.vanityfair.com/society/features/2011/05/top-one-percent-201105

Alan Harpham

Dear John

Have you read The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett.

This hypothesises and then sets out to prove statistically that the greater the gap between rich and poor the poorer the measures of wellbeing for the whole of that society.

A QED to your blog.

Alan Harpham


Really like the blog, appreciate the share!

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