One major premise of public choice theory is “behavioral symmetry”.
People act in their self-interest. They do what they believe will get them the most bang for the buck for themselves and their loved ones. This they do in the private sphere, such as in the supermarket.
Behavioral symmetry posits that when people act in the public sphere — as voters, politicians, bureaucrats — they also act in their self-interest. They don’t get transformed into other-directed, selfless beings capable of discovering what is true, beautiful and act solely in the interest of the “common good.” Continue reading