Every Man For Himself

Every Man for Himself PDF Version

The sentence “Every man for himself” conveys an emergency situation where all order has broken down, and group effort is useless.

“An expression of panic, that everyone should forget about comradeship and save themselves” – unknown source

“something that you say that means that everyone in a particular situation is trying to do what is best for themselves and no one is trying to help anyone else ” – Cambridge

How does “It’s every man for himself.” describe the economic and political situations in the world today? Even a casual glance indicates that we are moving in that direction. Who would argue that the primary function of government is to administer justice. Is there any evidence today of any government doing so?

That is how the phrase can be applied in an obvious way. Let’s take a more sophisticated look.

In the animal kingdom, survival comes down to a perpetual every animal for himself state of existence, always. Animals do belong to groups like herds, packs and prides. Make no mistake. Regardless, every animal is looking after itself even when acting on behalf of the group as a whole. Human society works the same way, albeit with much more complexity. It is part of animal instinct to put the needs of its group above its own in emergencies. Humans are subject to that same instinctive propensity but with a twist. Individuals can and do learn through life to act in the right ways collectively all of the time.

In reality, both economics and politics are extensions of the every man for himself mindset. At least they are now…. following the widespread use of democratic and free market principles that came into use during the industrial revolution.

The free market system is the embodiment of the every man for himself principle of nature applied to commerce. The democratic process changed the individual human’s relationship with leadership. It was learned in the 1700s that more is accomplished in total today being free and acting in self – interest than could ever be accomplished by the same people working under the authority of a central government.

Even today, people’s minds have not evolved out of the mentality necessary to work under a master. For this reason, society gravitates back to a totalitarian system. People understand intellectually but when push comes to shove, they go looking for powerful people to submit to and serve.

The free market system tells us that when an enterprise fails, something else will emerge in its place that more than makes up for the loss of certain businesses.

Suppose the banks start failing. This comes across as an emergency. It is reasoned that something that we have placed value on is gone or damaged. The banks get bailed out because minds cannot fathom that the free market will provide a solution and provide the optimum outcome given the situation.

The fact is though, that economics is always an every man for himself operation. Bail banks out. Purposefully create a socialist system. No matter what is done, market forces never disappear. The free market system gets optimum results. Unfortunately, mindsets have not adjusted in several hundred years to a point where we can adequately make use of it.


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