Law Contd Many
Law (cont�d) Many of the laws of economics, which concern the behaviour of people in markets and therefore their reaction to varying conditions of supply and demand and to changes in price, could not be made unless people were by and large ready to prefer the better of two bargains if they had a free choice. Men seeking goods and services and housewives shopping do not confine themselves only to price, quality, etc.: they are affected by habit, custom, pride, prejudice, by what business colleagues or rivals or neighbours will consider fair' and right', and so on. But to suppose that people are irrational altruists is even further from the truth than to suppose that they are rational egoists. In wartime patriotism is a powerful motive, although even then business men, trade union negotiators and ordinary shoppers put their personal material interests high in their scale of preferences. But in peacetime ordinary personal motives come to the fore. And attempts to create new social institutions on any other assumption have displayed periodic weakness. For example, the argument that miners and railwaymen would work better when they were working 'for the nation' under nationalization has not been supported by events.
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