Moral Sentiments and Self-Interest: We Are All Going to Hell

Looks like we are all money-grubbing, self-involved republicans at heart.

"To explore the interaction of moral sentiments and self-interest, Bowles begins with a case where six day care centers in Haifa, Israel imposed a fine on parents who picked their kids up late. The fine aimed to encourage parents to be more prompt. Instead, parents reacted to the fine by coming even later. Why? According to Bowles: "The fine seems to have undermined the parents' sense of ethical obligation to avoid inconveniencing the teachers and led them to think of lateness as just another commodity they could purchase."

Bowles argues that conventional economics assumes that "policies that appeal to economic self-interest do not affect the salience of ethical, altruistic, and other social preferences." Consequently, material interests and ethics generally pull in the same direction, reinforcing one another."

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