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Smith, Friedman, and Self-Interest in Ethical Society

  • Harvey S. James and Farhad Rassekh

Abstract:

We examine the writings of Adam Smith and Milton Friedman regarding their interpretation and use of the concept of self-interest. We argue that neither Smith nor Friedman considers self-interest to be synonymous with selfishness and thus devoid of ethical considerations. Rather, for both writers self-interest embodies an other-regarding aspect that requires individuals to moderate their actions when others are adversely affected. The overriding virtue for Smith in governing individual actions is justice; for Friedman it is non-coercion.

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Smith, Friedman, and Self-Interest in Ethical Society

  • Harvey S. James and Farhad Rassekh

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