Normal Human Corruption
Given the motivations of people how do humans operate?
Put simply, humans look after their community whilst acting as selfishly as possible, insofar as it doesn’t affect their place in that community, or threaten the community itself. This selfishness can be considered ‘normal human corruption’ and is natural behavior for humans.
In the tribal system
In a traditional tribe the community is obviously the tribe. Primarily humans work towards assisting the tribe. This looks after the tribe and ensures the individual’s place in that tribe, both of which are necessary for the individual’s survival.
The selfish behavior which is possible is promotion of oneself over ones peers for mates and power within the tribe. These are possible only through some form of excellence. All this selfish striving is also good for the tribe as everyone has to become stronger (in some way) to compete.
More selfish behavior such as stealing food, or unscrupulous behavior is very risky because an individual could be ostracized which means death. It is also harder to conceal in small close knit communities.
In capitalism what people consider their communities is varied. In most cases it is the extended family plus a social group of friends in a similar class. The big difference is that the work to support that community (earning money) is totally unrelated and hidden from their personal community.
An individual can be unscrupulous at work, harming others for one’s own profit, which is net negative for their wider community (state, country, industry, demographic, etc.). However, this is separate from their personal community so such ‘bad’ behavior has no negative impact to them. In fact it is the opposite, increasing ones power (wealth) though such acts allows them to earn more money and have greater prestige in their personal community.
Humans will naturally seek advantage for themselves whilst looking after their communities.
However, what an individual considers their community and the scope of selfish behavior available has a tremendous impact on a society.
Highly wealthy and ‘unscrupulous’ individuals are not ‘bad’ people, they are just operating within a system that rewards such behavior.