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Egoism Tends to Receive a Bad Reputation or Negative Connotation

Egoism Tends to Receive a Bad Reputation or Negative Connotation

I have always been interested in investing money into something that would give huge returns in the long run; my number one choice of investment was real estate. However, I tended to self-sabotage, for example, by always spending the money I intended to invest. This behaviour also manifested when it came to saving, whereby I would intentionally seek out extra needs just so I would end up spending most of the money instead of saving, thereby prolonging my investment plan. Nevertheless, I eventually realized my self-defeating behavior, and the best way was through ethical egoism (Boss, 2011). Through ethical egoism, I was able to rationally figure out what kind of behavior would benefit me the most in terms of accomplishing my investment goal.

Accordingly, I had to cut back on my expenses; for instance, I could not go out with my friends and family as much as I used to do before. Secondly, I had to take up more shifts or part-time jobs if I could find any so that I could save more. Taking these changes into consideration, researching real estate and balancing with my studies meant that I would be spending less time with my family and friends. Naturally, they thought I was being selfish and not prioritizing the things that were important. However, I explained to them how expensive college is, and it does not always guarantee that one will get a job upon graduating. Further, like thousands of other graduates, I would graduate with a lot of debt in student loans. Therefore, by investing my money, I was only trying to make my life easier in the future. Following recent statistics on how people struggle to pay their student loans, many are in their forties while still supporting families (Frotman, 2018). I was able to explain how my decision was not selfish but an act in my best interest.

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Boss, J. A. (2011). Ethics for life: A text with readings.

Frotman, S. (2018). Broken Promises: how debt-financed Higher Education Rewrote America’s social contract and fueled a quiet crisis. Utah L. Rev., 811.


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Egoism tends to receive a bad reputation or negative connotation because it is often confused with selfishness rather than the preservation of self-interest. Ethical egoism is the view that morally right actions are those that are in one’s own best interest. Since this is a consequentialist theory, the outcome is the determining factor. If the outcome is in the person’s best interest, then it is the morally right thing to do.

Egoism Tends to Receive a Bad Reputation or Negative Connotation

Egoism Tends to Receive a Bad Reputation or Negative Connotation

For example, Molly’s friends want her to go watch a band play, but she needs to do hours of homework because this is week two of the quarter. Molly’s friends complain that they never see her anymore because of her dedication to obtaining an education. If Molly neglects her homework and goes out, her grades will suffer, and she risks failing the course. While she knows watching a band would be a lot more fun, she knows this is a time when she needs to assert her own self-interest in obtaining an education so that she can gain long-term outcomes such as a better job and career advancement. After she explains this to her friends, they better understand why her schoolwork comes before social activities. This is the difference between self-interest and selfishness.

Share a time like the example above when you had to assert an egoist approach. What were the facts surrounding the situation? Who were the other people involved (family, friends, coworkers)? How did you explain why your decision was not selfish but rather in your own best interest?

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