It seems as if "pure, naked self-interest", that is, self-interest without liberty, results often in a zero-sum game. (I'm using the term liberty in a Lockean sense, where it is taken to mean the presence of wise regulations that actually enhances our freedoms).
Therefore, it also appears that the presence of such regulations have a role in the harnessing of self-interest for the common good, where a zero-sum game is essentially converted into a positive-sum game.
I'm curious if this line of analysis has been explored in the literature. Any references to articles in the literature are welcome and would be much appreciated.