Elon Musk and Enlightened Self-Interest

Elon Musk just announced that his electric car company, Tesla, is opening up its patents and intellectual property to competitors.

That’s a big deal and its already showing results.

BMW and Nissan are now in talks with Tesla to expand it’s charging station infrastructure (places where you can charge your electric car).  It’s also driven up its stock price to new highs.


Why did he do it?

He uses enlightened self-interest when he makes decisions instead of simple self-interest.

Enlightened self-interest yields win-win outcomes.  In this case, he made a decision based on the idea that if others benefit from this technology, he’s better off too.  He’s right. 

In contrast, simple self-interest (selfishness) yields win-lose outcomes.

PS:  Enlightened self-interest leads to economic relationships based on trust, integrity, and respect.  Selfishness?  I’ll let you figure that out.

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