This excerpt is taken directly from the TZM orientation guide found at this link (pdf): HERE.
Does anyone disagree with this argument?
The notion of “self-interest” is clearly inherent to the human being’s common urge to survive. This is obvious enough and it is easy to see historically how the raw necessity of personal survival, often extending to family and then the “tribe” (community), set the stage for the divisive, protectionist paradigm we exist in today. It should have been expected from the standpoint of history that vast economic theories would also be based upon the notion of competition and inequality, such as in the work of Adam Smith. Considered the father of the “free market”, he made popular the assumption that if everyone had the ethic to look out for themselves only, the world would progress as a community.
This “invisible hand” notion of human progress arising from narrow personal self-interest alone might have been a semi-workable philosophy many years ago when the simplicity of the society itself was based on everyone being something of a producer. However, the nature of society has changed greatly over time, with population increases, entirely different role structures and exponentially advancing technology. The risks associated with this manner of thought are now proving to be more dangerous than beneficial, and the true definition of “self-interest” is taking a larger context than ever before.
Is it not in your self-interest to protect and nourish the habitat that supports you? Is it not in your self-interest to take care of society as a whole, providing for its members, so that the consequences of deprivation, such as “crime” are reduced as much as possible to ensure your safety? Is it not self-interest to consider the consequences of imperialist wars that can breed fierce jingoistic hatred on one side of the planet, only to have, say, a suitcase bomb explode behind you at a restaurant as a desperate “blow-back” act of retribution? Is it not self-interest to assure all of societies’ children have the best upbringing and education so that your future and the future of your children can exist in a responsible, educated, and increasingly productive world? Is it not in your self-interest to make sure industry is as organised, optimised and scientifically accurate as possible, so that we do not produce shoddy, cheap technology that might perhaps cause a problem in the future if it fails?
The bottom line is that things have changed in the world today and your self-interest is now only as good as your societal interest. Being competitive and going out for yourself, “beating” others only has a negative consequence in the long-term, for it is denying awareness of the synergistic system we are bound within. A cheaply made nuclear power plant in Japan might not mean much to people in America. However, if that plant was to have a large scale technical failure, the fallout and pollution might make its way over to American homes, proving that you are never safe in the long run unless you have a global consciousness…