Amidst some light Monday night reading of International Politics: Power & Purpose in Global Affairs, I came across this interesting quote.
“US President George W. Bush captured the range of motivations for combating poverty in a 2002 speech:
‘We fight against poverty because hope is an answer to terror. We fight against poverty because opportunity is a fundamental right to human dignity. We fight against poverty because faith requires it and conscience demands it. We fight against poverty with a growing conviction that major progress is within our reach.’
For all these very practical reasons, the wealthy countries often perceive a self-interest in helping the poor. It is often easier to justify spending taxpayers’ money to pursue national self-interest than to pursue the ethical agenda of poverty reduction. However, the pursuit of poverty reduction based on self-interest often has bizarre effects on who gets help and how.”
“Bizarre”–I suppose its the only way to describe the way self-interest just keeps popping up everywhere; in the middle of every great plan for peace or prosperity or equality. It’s power is truly remarkable, ruining the greatest plans and ideas and hopes. Even our best attempts to wrangle self-interest as capitalism: declaring markets to be free, allowing self-interest to roam and balance themselves; perhaps that will help us overcome it?
But, nay: it’s everywhere. It surrounds us, haunts us, and traps us.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”