Altruism – an alternative value in policy formation and decision making

Donald Gates, Peter Steane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to propose an alternative approach to the decision and policymaking that has been practiced in most developed countries for more than a quarter of a century. Such policies followed, to a greater or lesser degree, the policies adopted in the UK and the USA since the period of the Thatcher and Reagan administrations, respectively. These policies proclaimed the supremacy of the market and downplayed government intervention in the marketplace. Design/methodology/approach – This paper draws upon earlier research by the authors as well as upon published works of other researchers. Findings – Selfinterest governed the way policies are formed and through a process of extreme capitalism financial leaders took everincreasing risks for which executives received lucrative incentive salaries. The recent crash suggests a failure in such policies and this paper proposes an alternative way of operating – the way of altruism. Selfishness and egoism are argued as endemic in economic rationalism and extreme capitalism, replacing selflessness that engenders policies more aligned to altruism. Research limitations/implications – The research is limited by the ability to examine all the research literature in the field at greater depth. However, the examination that has been possibly indicated that selfinterest and greed, endemic in extreme capitalism and economic rationalism, have made significant contributions to the recent subprime and global financial crises. Practical implications – This paper provides government and corporate policymakers with an understanding of an alternative value – selflessness as aligned to altruism – than the values of selfishness and greed that are endemic in economic rationalism and extreme capitalism guiding policies that led to the global financial crisis. Originality/value – The paper fulfils an identified need and supports policymakers seeking to achieve just outcomes for all stakeholders across the globe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)962-978
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Social Economics
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 28 Aug 2009


Dive into the research topics of 'Altruism – an alternative value in policy formation and decision making'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this