Is human nature good or evil? For the purpose of studying economics it doesn’t matter. All we need to do is observe behavior without putting a value on it in terms of good or bad. How can we expect people to behave in the economic arena? To find this out we have to observe them and what we see will be correct. Living things are self serving and this allows them to survive. Human beings are no exception.
Public policy ends up being based on the way we would like others to behave and ignores the fact that each person will be self serving no matter what. Another way to look at this is that each individual sees himself as special but expects those in the public eye to act selflessly. It doesn’t work that way. It never has and never will. Why do so many laws work to the determent to the individual? Obama Care is a good example because the lobbyists who wrote the bill were self serving just as they should be expected to be.
Those who are grounded in religion should not be offended at this approach. Economics is the study of secular world behavior. Profits, messiahs and avatars offer an alternative.
From Mark 12:17
“”Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him.””
This statement is too often taken to serve as a justification for taxing citizens in a a country until they cannot see. What it really means is that the spiritual world is completely non-attached to the secular world. Economics studies behavior as it occurs in the secular world and within the laws of dominance and subservience.
Religion offers an escape form the system. Personally I have accepted the offer but that doesn’t change the nature of the secular world.