One thing that [Naomi] Klein does not seem to get is that there is a distinction between self-interest and selfishness. It is quite possible to do something that makes you better off but which does no one else any harm (and in fact may be benefiting them). To my way of thinking, this is not selfishness because that requires you to be causing harm to others. This is no semantic difference, it is key to how operates in practice. While self-interest is rewarded, there are laws to prevent selfish behaviour such as lying, stealing, bribery, breaking contracts and using violence. For the market to work there must be legally enforceable limits to the harm people can do to each others.
Quite so; Mark then goes on to articulate a concept that your humble Devil has advanced many times.
Smith might wish us to be entirely virtuous but he knows we’re not. He understood that to try to build a socialist utopia on such shaky foundations was futile and we would be better off trying to turn mans vices into virtues through the market.
Any system that relies on people being altruistic for its survival will never work because humans are self-interested at a genetic level; we are programmed in the self-interest of our genes and their interest is in propagation in the most favourable possible circumstances (in order to ensure maximum probability of survival).