Incidences When Use of Incentives To Develop Self-Interest Harmed And Benefited Society


Every individual has self-interest that one would wish to pursue in life whether negative or positive. These self-interests include goals associated to creating art work, helping others, power, love, friendship, and prestige among other things. Basically, people hope to pursue self-interest to better their life, to grow professionally, financially, spiritually, socially, or politically among others forms of growth. Normally, this growth is normally fueled by incentives provided by the system, friends, nature, organization or the government to encourage growth in self-interest. Although these interests are normally positive to those pursuing them, they may either be of positive or negative benefit to the society (Miller, 2006). This paper evaluates two events in which the use of incentives to develop self-interest benefited the society ad when it did harm to the society despite of benefiting the actor.

Self-Interest that Benefited the Society

Food faming is one of the activities that are only pursued by those who have financial interest in it. However, faming is not an easy business for it is highly determined by whether or individual determination to employ good farming techniques to limit weather effect. In one situation, the government wished to experiment whether offering farmers incentives would better the farming produce in the country.  In this case, farmers in one region were offered seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides at subsides rate. The government also promised to purchase their products at good prices, with cost per unit increasing based on the volume one could manage to provide. This made farmers to till extensive pieces of land than usual and to offer extra attention to their plants by even involving extension officers for advice on pesticides and herbicides and other chemicals or farming techniques to employ to increase their produce. This resulted to food surplus in the region an aspect that benefited the society.

Self-Interest that Harmed the Society

Working as a manger in a production company, there was a great urge to improve the level of production to meet the high demand in the market. In this regard, board of directors and other seniors posted a challenge to the manager to ensure increase in the level of production. The manager was to receive a great bonus if he would manage to increase the production by 50%. As a result, workers were offered good overtime payment after 8 working hours, free refreshment at around 5 pm to continue working. Awards were also provided for good quality of work, where other departments got advantage of increased workers, fitness center was introduced to encourage workers to take healthy breaks and get back to work. Shifts were created to include night shift for some departments and the form of payment was changed to include payment based on quantity of work done and not hours worked in the production department. This encouraged workers to work even harder and to be more dedicated. This resulted to the growth in the company’s level of production. However, the rate of pollution produced by the factory was almost double the initial rate as the factory operated for more hours than usual and even during the night. This created harmful effect to the surrounding society for they noticed the change of air and increase in the level of gases and smoke especially during the night.


Incentives are very good in advancing the self-interest of an individual or a company or a community. However, not all self-interests are beneficial to the individuals interested in them and the entire society. In the first incident, farming incentives increased food supply in the region, however, the second case; company’s interest resulted to more pollution in the surrounding.

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