What is the Principle of Service?
Harry Browne based his entire philosophy on three “laws”. I think that they are more general rules than laws. First, that all men seek happiness. Brown defines happiness as “a feeling of well-being.” Second, that happiness is relative. It can’t be everything, but it can be a wide variety of things to a wide variety of people. Third, that all actions that a man takes will be for the advancement of his own happiness. Again, I don’t think that this applies all the time, but it is generally true.
Using these “laws,” Browne states that no one is going to to something purely for your benefit. He says that those who are donating money to the poor are not doing it for the poor; they are doing it to produce a good feeling in themselves, or avoid a similar bad feeling. He also says that you cannot really force someone to do what he does not want to do. He claims that if you hold a gun to his chest and threaten to kill him, and he hands over his money, that he is still doing what he wants to do. At least he thinks that it is preferable to getting shot.
And so, Browne says that because no one will do something solely for your benefit, and you cannot force them to do something that they do not want to do, you must offer him a service in exchange for his resources. And so, Brown states that your profits, however much money is put on you ledger, is a record of how much you have served others.
Again, I do not agree with all of this right here, but his process worked for him and many others, and I believe that he was close to his mark. That concludes this essay on the Principle of Service.