„If men were actuated by self-interest, which they are not – except in the case of a few saints – the whole human race would cooperate.“
— Bertrand Russell logician, one of the first analytic philosophers and political activist 1872 - 1970
1950s, What Desires Are Politically Important? (1950)
Contexto: Killing an enemy in a modern war is a very expensive operation... It is obvious that modern war is not good business from a financial point of view. Although we won both the world wars, we should now be much richer if they had not occured. If men were actuated by self-interest, which they are not – except in the case of a few saints – the whole human race would cooperate. There would be no more wars, no more armies, no more navies, no more atom bombs. There would not be armies of propagandists employed in poisoning the minds of Nation A against Nation B, and reciprocally of Nation B against Nation A. There would not be armies of officials at frontiers to prevent the entry of foreign books and foreign ideas, however excellent in themselves. There would not be customs barriers to ensure the existence of many small enterprises where one big enterprise would be more economic. All this would happen very quickly if men desired their own happiness as ardently as they desired the misery of their neighbors. But, you will tell me, what is the use of these utopian dreams? Moralists will see to it that we do not become wholly selfish, and until we do the millennium will be impossible.