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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.

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  • $\begingroup$ I realize that this is a big topic, but I'm looking for mainly for game-theoretic models, maybe in the area of mechanism design. $\endgroup$ – Joebevo Aug 7 '18 at 4:01

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