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Is the following statement true? "Sacrificing self-interest for the collective good...

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paboo2007 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 2) Honors

Posted October 30, 2011 at 8:29 AM via web

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Is the following statement true? "Sacrificing self-interest for the collective good won't happen unless a majority of Americans also accept this premise."

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 30, 2011 at 8:43 AM (Answer #1)

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Since this question comes from a managerial accounting textbook, I will assume that you are asking about businesses sacrificing their self-interest for the common good.  I assume that the idea behind the statement is that businesses will not sacrifice for the common good unless most Americans do as well.

I do not believe that this is true.  I do not think that businesses will be likely to sacrifice for the common good even if people do.  Individuals benefit when they sacrifice for the common good.  It makes them feel good about themselves.  Businesses have no such feelings and therefore gain nothing from sacrificing.  It may be that some businesses will be able to "do well by doing good" if they work for the common good and thereby get a better reputation among consumers.  However, this is not really a sacrifice.

I think that businesses will always focus mainly on profits unless they are owned by one or a few people who derive an emotional benefit from doing good.  Large, publicly traded businesses will always pursue profit above all else.

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