“Keep character of Antonio from Merchant of

 “Keep allyour agony, stress and relation/s outside of this chamber” thismessage is displayed outside of the cockpit1 so thatevery pilot can see while they enter to take off.

Needless to say, pilotdischarges his duty matching truly with the inherent spirit of the message andits immaterial whether the message is displayed or not. If the same message isdisplayed in front of the boardroom, especially addressing the independentdirectors before taking the chair for the board meeting? Will they give uptheir all interest outside the boardroom? Will it be sufficient to make theindependent directors ‘independent’? Is it possible to restrict their allinterest2? Statutoryand regulatory initiatives are obviously there to make them independent. But eithersuch attempts will successfully restrict ‘pecuniary material interest’ or all’pecuniary material interest’ may be quantified in terms of salary that may betested in the light of self interest theory.

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Beforedefining self-interest, at the beginning, it is pertinent to mention is that self-interestmust not be equated with greed3. In thecontext of consumer choice theory every person has some constraints that fixtheir choices in the economy. Economists often say that any action of people isdriven by their self-interest. The term ‘self-interest’ is therefore morallyneutral within an economic analysis. To ascertain self-interest, David Hume andAdam Smith takes the help of the character of Antonio from Merchant of Venice.To understand Antonio we are to fall back on Scotish Enlightenment that triedcontinually to address the Elizabethan anxiety about the disorders ofcapitalism4.

Humeand Smith focus on someone who resembles Antonio: a figure of moderate temperament,with sympathy for friends; far sighted but not cunning; acquisitive but notself-indulgent and certainly not shameless. This person is not quite as generousas Antonio, nor as moralistic; he is not as heedless of consequences, but issimilarly unobjectionable. He is perfectly blank. This person has interests andfollows them, but in a way that tends to benefit society.

When we turn fromtextual meaning to applied economics, self-interest brcomes an abstract term.Self-interest in law abd economics is thus not an empty but perfectly balancesbetween individual interest and societal interest. Company is nothing but aninstrument of doing business, an economic entity with social obligations.Self-interest is discreet, morally neutral.

Being attached with a company, aneconomic entity; that also having financial interest, it is quiet absurd to befree from all interest. Naturally,the expectation from an  independent director to be free from allinterest is nothing but illusive imagination, like golden-claypot. Theeconomic relation must not be rationally selfish; instead, it must be persuasive, because the aimof both parties is to obtain precise advantages, and this entails discovering what theirreciprocal interest is. People areonly concerned about their failure and success.  In more narrower sense, it is pain andpleasure.

Every action of an individual is to maximize pleasure and minimizepain5. Selfinterest is just the regulating factor in this context. Self-interest of twoindividual in a board meeting may conflict6 and itis very much expected but self-interest and organisational interest must meetat a point7. If itdoes not meet then that self-interest, which is basically greed, will bedetrimental. Hawkins also stands in affirmative that human being is slave oftheir own selfish gene8. Sitting in thechair of independent director a person supposed to be free from all biasness.If we fall back to the theory of Hobbes and Locke9 we get that whether anindividual is bad or good that is determined when an individual comes inassociation with others and their interest conflicts.

Isit possible to converge and then convert all self interests intocompensation/remuneration? This isneither logically implied by the assumption of self-interest nor empiricallycorrect. Can we establish such a system that an individual will be forcedto take decision / deliver judgement mechanically? 1 F.n2 Challenge isobviously different for pilot and for the independent director but theexpectation from both is same.

That is, the chair where they are going to seatthat demands 100% commitment. They have no scope to balance between twointerests sitting on the same as a little hesitation and/or confusion may provefatal to many. It is expected that they will take decision objectively for thebest interest of the institution/corporation.   3If we equate self-interest  with greedthen then the miser and saint must be greedy as they both seek to ssatisfytheir preferences. For that greed has no meaning in economics. 4R. H.

Tawney, Religion and Rise of capitalism, 231-53(1998)5 Utility theory 6 Good for growthof society, Rousseau 7 Social Contract 8 Dawkins 9 Social contracttheory


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