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The Ethics of Voting$
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Jason Brennan

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691154442

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691154442.001.0001

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For the Common Good

For the Common Good

(p.112) Chapter Five For the Common Good
The Ethics of Voting

Jason Brennan

Princeton University Press

This chapter argues that citizens should vote in ways that promote the common good rather than in ways that promote their self-interest at the expense of the common good. The egoistic view of voting holds that citizens rightly may choose government policies maximally favorable to themselves, regardless of what cost these programs impose upon others. In contrast, the public-spirited view holds that citizens ought to vote for the common good. On this view, citizens must not aim for purely private interests, especially when such interests come at the expense of the common good. Voters should look for policies good for all, rather than seeking to exploit their fellow citizens through government.

Keywords:   common good, self-interest, egoistic voting, public-spirited voting, government, government policies

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