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Sample Essay on Vested Interests: Why Do People Use Their Ranks?

January 24th, 2018

It sometimes seems that everything in our world is based on vested interests. And no matter how unfair it turns out to be for one group of people, the rest gain a great deal of benefits interacting with the society on such basis. That’s why it is important to know what vested interests are, especially for students, for whom this sample essay is written.

Vested interest is an appeal to use someone’s influence, particular situation or institution to gain a benefit. For example, alcohol companies sponsor different events and this way spread their drinks among adults and youth who are underage. But there are also cases of a smaller scale when an individual uses his/her status to push through some deals. For instance, doctors due to their ranks promote specific drugs to the patients not because these pills or drops are more effective, but because they receive retrenchments. Apart from the obvious profits and advantages, there are other factors that indulge people to engage in vested interests.

There are 3 key factors that might answer the question why people use their ranks to gain benefits or provide others with them in order to, again, receive some profit. The first one is the involvement. It can be based on values when certain actions appeal to the individual’s beliefs and dogmas. It can also be connected with the impression that the person is trying to make on people who also can bring some benefit.

It is also an ego that plays an important role in such matters being the second factor that pushes people into vested interests area. It is viewed separately from the 1st one that is interlaced with values because this notion implies emotional attachment to a certain idea. The ego, on the contrary, can have no connection with emotions, though can be even a stronger driver for vested attitudes.

The last but not the least factor is the attitude importance. It means that an individual can consider consequences not only of a personal nature but also of a national or even global one. For instance, a French person may be worried about the Ebola epidemic in Africa and fully understand the outcome if it gets out of control, and, consequently, create an organization that will help isolate the disease. That’s why this attitude can become a powerful stimulator for taking an action.

The main problem of vested interests is that when it is driven by an ego or possible profit, it often has something that can be called “collateral damage”. Usually, the advantages are counted only for the parties involved in a deal or agreement, but for others, such “contracts” might have negative consequences. Let’s take doctors, for example – they flog medicine that may have cheaper and even stronger equivalents on the market. But, they don’t take into account this fact because, from that alternative, they won’t get any benefits.

Although vested interests are frequently used in negative situations, they also can be used for a good cause. It’s important to understand this difference before applying this knowledge in practice.

References:

  1. Sivacek, J., & Crano, W. D. (1982). Vested interest as a moderator of attitude behavior consistency. ‘Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43, 210-221
  2. Veblen, T., & Horowitz, I. L. (2002). The vested interests. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction
  3. Sherif, M., & Hovland, C. (1961). Social judgment: Assimilation and contrast effects in communication and attitude change. Yale University Press
  4. Odling-Smee, J., & Richardson, T. (2002). Transition and Vested Interests. Completing Transition: The Main Challenges, 35-39. doi:10.1007/978-3-662-04866-5_7
  5. Crano, W. D. (1995). Attitude strength and vested interest. In R. E. Petty & J. A. Krosnick (Eds.), Attitude strength: Antecedents and Consequences. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 131–158. Crano, W. D. (1995). Components of vested interest and attitude-behavior consistency. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 17, 1-21.
  6. Miller, D., & Ratner, R. (1998). The Disparity Between the Actual and Assumed Power of Self-Interest. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 1, 53-62
  7. Godlee, F. (2010). Vested interests. Bmj, 340(Apr08 2), C1922-C1922. doi:10.1136/bmj.c1922
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