Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Exploring the conflict between selfishness and self-interest


Oct. 20, 2014 — BSU economics professor Dr. Paul Kivi will explore the failure of what seems the safest of assumptions — that people act in their self-interest — as part of Bemidji State University’s Honors Council Lecture Series.

Kivi’s presentation, “Selfishness and Self-Interest,” will be held Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. in Hagg-Sauer 112. Honors Council lectures are open to everyone free of charge.

“Prices are wonderful organizational tools,” Kivi said. “If you go to a store and the good is worth enough to you, you buy it; if not, you don’t. Therefore, the goods wind up in the hands of those who value them most. If everybody acts in their own self-interest, if they understand the consequences of their actions, and if markets are well behaved, society will be as well-off as possible.”

However, Kivi’s lecture will show that is not necessarily true that people’s actions are done in their own self-interest. He will explore the distinction between selfishness and self-interest and show that blurring the definitions between the two concepts has led us to private philosophies and public policies that breed selfishness at the expense of self-interest.

About Paul Kivi

Dr. Paul Kivi is writing a textbook on environmental economics and has published articles in “Ecological Economics,” “Economics Letters,” and “Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics.” Kivi, who is married with three daughters, leads trips to Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area and hosts a radio show featuring old-time music on KBXE 90.5 FM in Bemidji. Kivi is a BSU alum, earning an undergraduate degree in economics and environmental studies before earning a doctorate in economics from the University of Wyoming.

About the Honors Council Lecture Series

The Honors Council Lecture Series is hosted by the Bemidji State University Honors Council. The council is the advisory group to the honors program comprised of 12 faculty members from each of the University’s colleges. Student representatives are also elected to the council by their cohorts for one-year terms.


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