Selfish, Rational Maximizer: The Capitalist View of the Human
Capitalism is based on the premise that the most desirable state of affairs is economic growth, which can be attained most effectively through free markets in which assets are privately owned.
Based on this credo, the primary responsibility of government is to provide the infrastructure necessary for the free market to conduct its business with minimal constraints.
Some important assumptions about human nature underlie these beliefs. Individuals are understood to be motivated primarily by financial self-interest. They are assumed to be rational in pursuit of this goal, and their “rationality” is believed to lead them to act competitively rather than cooperatively in the marketplace.
Another crucial assumption holds that the aggregation of all these individuals competitively seeking their own financial gain leads to the most beneficial outcome for society.
These assumptions about human nature are not self-evident truths; however, the money-based system constructed by capitalism encourages and rewards these traits over other traditional, community-oriented values, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy about the nature of human behavior.