martedì 6 settembre 2016

Chapter 5 The Myth of Self- Interest And the Science of Cooperation Turchin

Chapter 5 The Myth of Self- Interest And the Science of CooperationRead more at location 1757
Note: 5@@@@@@@@@@@@@ Esistono gli altruisti sinceri che di fatto si riproducono perchè ammrati in quanto consentono alla collettività di vincere nella selezione di gruppo. Lo fanno grazie al moralismo e alla cultura. Edit
Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip rushed to a car in which sat Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife, Countess Sophie. Princip shot two times, hitting Sophie in the stomach and Franz Ferdinand in the neck.Read more at location 1759
Note: ATTENTATO Edit
After accomplishing his mission, Princip swallowed a capsule of cyanide, but the poison was defective and only made him vomit.Read more at location 1761
Note: KAMIKA E Edit
(he was too young for the death penalty),Read more at location 1763
One month after the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, and using it as a pretext, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Russia, who was tied by a defensive treaty to Serbia, began mobilizing, which was treated as a hostile act by Germany. On August 1, Germany declared war on Russia, which dragged into the war Russian allies France and England. World War I had begun.Read more at location 1764
Note: INNESCO I GUERRA Edit
Patriotic crowds demonstrated for war in Vienna, Berlin, and London. More tellingly, all over Europe hundreds of thousands volunteered for the army.Read more at location 1768
Note: DIMOSTRAZIONI E VOLONTARI Edit
In the British Empire, for example, there was no need to introduce conscription until 1916.Read more at location 1769
Note: COSCRIZIONE Edit
The willingness of the British, the French, and the Germans to fight for their country is only one of the many striking examples of the human capacity to sacrifice self-interest for the sake of a very broad common good.Read more at location 1774
Note: ALTRISMO E GUERRA Edit
the willingness of Gavrilo Princip to murder Franz Ferdinand even at the expense of his life, or the eagerness with which Palestinian suicide bombers sacrifice themselves to inflict horror on the Israelis, falls into the same category. The “common good”Read more at location 1777
Note: KAMIKAZE E BENE COMUNE Edit
The capacity to sacrifice self-interest for the sake of common good is the necessary condition for cooperation.Read more at location 1780
Note: COOPERAZIONE Edit
To ancient and medieval thinkers such as Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and, above all, Ibn Khaldun, it was obvious that it was cooperation that provided the basis of social life. Beginning in the early modern period, however, this certainty was gradually abandoned by most influential social thinkers. By the end of the twentieth century, the “rational-choice theory,” which postulated that people behave in entirely self-interested manner, became the dominant paradigm in the social sciences.Read more at location 1781
Note: RSTIONAL CHOICE Edit
If people are motivated entirely by self-interest, the only forces that matter are rewards and punishments.Read more at location 1785
Note: INCENTIVI Edit
Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527). In his best work, The Prince, Machiavelli famously asked whether for a ruler “it is better to be loved than feared, or the reverse.Read more at location 1787
Note: IL PRINCIPE DI MACHIAVELLI Edit
since the two rarely come together, anyone compelled to choose will find greater security in being feared than in being loved.Read more at location 1789
Note: RISPOSTA Edit
Machiavelli’s ideas were completely at odds with the prevailing political ideology, and his contemporaries rejected them with horror.Read more at location 1796
Note: BASTIAN CONTRARIO Edit
Louis IX ( 1226-70) before his death. When he fell ill, he said to his son and heir, “Fair son, I pray that you make yourself beloved of your people; for truly I would rather that a Scot should come from Scotland and govern the kingdom loyally and well than that you should govern it ill.” The people of his time clearly agreed with this sentiment, and Louis was canonized in 1297,Read more at location 1797
Note: LUIGI IX Edit
St. Louis was no great shakes as a political thinker, he was a remarkably successful practical politician.Read more at location 1801
Note: NELLA PRATICA Edit
France became the hegemonic power of Europe, famous for the quality (and quantity) of its fighting men, the learning of its university, and the beauty of its Gothic cathedrals. The reign of St. Louis was the golden age of medieval France.Read more at location 1802
Note: FRANCIA REGINA D EUROPA Edit
By contrast, Machiavelli was ultimately a failure as politician.Read more at location 1804
Note: FALLIMENTO DEL MACHIAVELLI POLITICO Edit
He played an important role in the successful subjugation of Pisa by the Florentines in 1509. However, in 1512, the Spanish troops attackedRead more at location 1807
After only a brief struggle the Florentine militia, recruited by Machiavelli, broke and ran away. Florence surrendered without further resistance, and the Spanish installed the new government headed by the Medici, who had been chased away from Florence 18 years earlier. Soderini was forced to resign and went into exile, and Machiavelli was dismissed from his post and banished. He withdrew to a small farm that his father left him, and there wrote the book that made him famous. The Prince (1513) was addressed to Lorenzo the Magnificent de Medici, and Machiavelli’s stated desire was to be reinstated in the government. His plea, however, remained unanswered, and he was forced to rusticate for the rest of his life.Read more at location 1808
Note: FALLIMENTI Edit
The main premise of the argument in The Prince is that all people behave all the time in a completely self-interested manner—Read more at location 1815
Note: PREMESSE Edit
In Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) assumed that in the “state of nature”—in the absence of the state keeping order—society would fall apart and degenerate into the war of all against all.Read more at location 1819
Note: HOBBES PROSECUTORE Edit
David Hume ( 1711-76) wrote, “Political writers established it as a maxim, that, in contriving any system of government ... every man ought to be supposed to be a knave and to have no other end, in all his actions, than his private interest.”Read more at location 1821
Note: HUME Edit
Bernard Mandeville (1670-1713) in The Fable of the Bees: Private Vices, Publick Benefits: “Thus every Part was full of Vice, yet the whole Mass a Paradise.”Read more at location 1823
Note: MANDEVILLE Edit
1980s and 1990s—“greed is good”?Read more at location 1825
Note: GREED GOOD Edit
In his master-piece The Wealth of Nations, Smith wrote, “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”Read more at location 1829
Note: MACELLAIO DI SMITH Edit
During the twentieth century, the ideas of Mandeville, Smith, and many others have been developed and systematized into what is now known as “the theory of rational choice.”Read more at location 1835
Note: RATIONAL CHOICE Edit
In principle, the utility function could be almost anything, but in practice almost all applications of the theory in the mainstream economics equate utility with material self-interest.Read more at location 1837
Note: PEFERENZE Edit
There is, however, one area where the rational choice theory fails utterly-in explaining why people cooperate. Take volunteering for the army when your country is attacked.Read more at location 1846
Note: UN CAMPO PARTICOLARE Edit
the cost of enlisting you bear directly, whereas the benefit is shared equally among everybodyRead more at location 1849
Note: COSTI E BENEFICI Edit
Your participation, or not, in the army of millions is not going to make any appreciable difference to the outcome of the war.Read more at location 1850
Note: LA DIFFERENZA Edit
What about forcing people to cooperate? For example, we might establish firing squads that would go to towns and villages and shoot everybody who fails to volunteer. When faced with a choice of being shot here and now, or joining the army and taking one’s chances, the rational agent would of course “volunteer.” But who will constitute the enforcement squads? Certainly not rational agents. Participation in the enforcement squad is personally costly (you might get killed by rioting draft evaders), whereas the benefit (getting an army together and resisting the invaders) is again spread evenly among all.Read more at location 1856
Note: COERCIZIONE Edit
AT THE SAME TIME THAT THE social scientists were perfecting the theory of rational choice, biologists were doing the same for the theory of evolution by natural selection, reaching very similar conclusions. The biological counterpart of utility is “fitness”—the expected number of viable offspring contributed by an organism to future generations.Read more at location 1873
Note: BIOLOGIA Edit
beginning with Charles Darwin himself, there was one puzzle that bothered evolutionary biologists—how could sociality evolve. Take the beehive. If you try to plunder its honey, you will be immediately confronted with an angrily buzzing swarm of bees. If you do not have protective clothing, you will be stung many times. A bee cannot withdraw its barbed sting from the skin of the victim, so the inevitable result of its attack is that the sting is torn out of its abdomen, and the bee dies. Thus, its defense of the hive is a true act of self-sacrifice,Read more at location 1879
Note: SOCIALITÀ Edit
wasps, ants, and termites, do something even more puzzling—they give up their ability to reproduce.Read more at location 1885
Note: FORMICHE Edit
British biologist William D. Hamilton advanced the theory of kin selection. We know that all bees in a hive are sisters and, due to a quirky genetic makeup of Hymenoptera (a group that includes wasps and ants), a bee shares three quarters of her genes with any of her hive mates.Read more at location 1889
Note: KIN SELECTION Edit
The second important strand in evolutionary research that has a bearing on human sociality is the idea of “reciprocal altruism” developed by the biologist Robert Trivers and the political scientist Robert Axelrod.Read more at location 1896
Note: ALTRUISMO RECIPROCO Edit
Giovanni, a merchant of Venice, entrusts Lorenzo, the captain of a ship, with a certain sum of money. Lorenzo promises to travel to Cairo, purchase oriental spice there, and carry it back to Giovanni, who will sell it at a profit and pay Lorenzo a handsome fee. Suppose also that there is no way to write an enforceable contract (maybe the Venetian Republic has imposed a blockade on Cairo, and therefore the deal is illegal). If Lorenzo is a rational agent, he should accept the money from Giovanni, but upon return simply sell the spice himself and pocket the proceeds. But Giovanni is also a rational agent, so he will figure out that Lorenzo will cheat him, and therefore Giovanni will keep his money No business is transacted, and both “agents” are the poorer for it. If the interaction between Giovanni and Lorenzo is a one-shot affair, the rational strategy for both is to “defect” (fail to cooperate). This failure to cooperate is really a special case of the collective action problem, but instead of a large group, just two individuals are involved. If Giovanni and Lorenzo have a long-term relationship, however, in which they have an opportunity for repeated deals over the years, the logic of the situation is completely transformed.Read more at location 1897
Note: ONE SHOT FLOW Edit
when a Frenchman enlisted in the army in 1914, the vast majority of his 40 million countrymen and women had no blood relation to him whatsoever. Hamilton’s insight does not really help us understand human “ultrasocialityRead more at location 1921
Note: IL VOLONTARIO DI GUERRA NN È SPIEGATO Edit
What about reciprocal altruism? Does this help us understand how we can solve the collective-action problem involving many people? Unfortunately not,Read more at location 1924
Note: ANCHE IL RECIPROCO ALTRUISMO FALLISCE Edit
In the final analysis, although they made valuable contributions to the debate, sociobiologists failed to explain human ultrasociality In the last chapter of The Selfish Gene, Dawkins himself acknowledged, “Kin selection and selection in favor of reciprocal altruism may have acted on human genes to produce many of our basic psychological attributes and tendencies. These ideas are plausible as far as they go, but I find that they do not begin to square up to the formidable challenge of explaining culture, cultural evolution, and the immense differences between human cultures around the world.”Read more at location 1932
Note: L AMMISSIONE DI DAWKINS Edit
Anomalies such as, for example, World War I were generally ignored. Some scientists tried to explain such instance of mass cooperation away. Perhaps enlisting in the army was an atavistic cooperative impulse, which evolved by means of kin selection when primordial humans lived in bands of relatives, and now was somehow triggered by nationalistic war propaganda. In other words, volunteers behaved in truly irrational fashion, both in the technical and common senses of the word; they were somehow “fooled.” Or perhaps they were purposefully fooled—manipulated by the Machiavellian elitesRead more at location 1939
Note: RIMOZIONE Edit
Note: ATAVISMO... DERIVA Edit
Note: INGANNATI! Edit
THE BEHAVIORAL EXPERIMENTS USING THE public goods and the ultimatum games decisively prove that Machiavelli’s self-interest premise was wrong. It is simply not true that all people behave in entirely self-interested manner.Read more at location 2030
Note: MACHIAVELLI CONFUTATO. GLI ALTRUISTI ESISTONO Edit
Furthermore, different societies have different mixtures of self-interested and cooperative individuals.Read more at location 2033
Note: MIX DIFFERENTI Edit
Self-righteous moralists are not necessarily nice people, and their motivation for the “moralistic punishment” is not necessarily prosocial in intent. They might not be trying to get everybody to cooperate. Instead, they get mad at people who violate social norms.Read more at location 2037
Note: FUSTIGATORI DELLA MORALE: IL PIACERE DI PUNIRE Edit
A recent experiment, conducted in Zurich by Fehr and colleagues, confirms that emotions play a strong role in moralistic punishment.Read more at location 2041
Note: EMOZIONI DEL FUSTIGATORE Edit
The new twist was that the researchers scanned brain activity of the subjects who were contemplating whether to punish a cheater. The brain scan showed that when a player was deciding on punishment, a spike of neural activity occurred in the region of brain known as the caudate nucleus. The stronger the nucleus fired, the greater was the fine imposed by the subject on the norm violator. The caudate nucleus is known to be involved in the processing of rewards.Read more at location 2042
Note: GRATIFICAZIONE DEL PUNITORE Edit
People are different—some are knaves, others moralists. Societies differ in their ability to sustain collective action.Read more at location 2053
Note: SIAMO DIVERSI. CONTA IL MIX Edit
there is no need to flush the theory of rational choice down the drain.Read more at location 2056
Note: E LA RAT CH? Edit
It is quite straightforward to include in the utility function the prosocial inclinations of some individuals,Read more at location 2058
Note: SUFFICIENTE Edit
In other kinds of situations, prosocial norms held by part of the population will result in an outcome completely at variance with the standard theory. Take the example with which this chapter started. From the point of view of the self-interest hypothesis, massive volunteering for the army is incomprehensible.Read more at location 2063
Note: SETTORI DELL ATTIVITÀ UMANA Edit
“Once war broke out the situation at home became awful, because people did not like to see men or lads of army age walking about in civilian clothing, or not in uniform of some sort, especially in a military town like Woolwich. Women were the worst. They would come up to you in the street and give you a white feather, or stick it in the lapel of your coat. A white feather is the sign of cowardice,Read more at location 2069
Note: MORALISMO DELLE DONNE DURANTE LA GUERRA Edit
Cooperative inclinations played a large role in explaining mass volunteering, but it would be simplistic and wrong to say that the whole nation spontaneously and uniformly rose up to smite the enemy.Read more at location 2082
Note: PRECISAZIONE Edit
Doesn’t the theory of natural selection predict that such altruistic behaviors could never evolve?Read more at location 2086
Note: LA DOMANDA Edit
“Selfish and contentious people will not cohere, and without coherence, nothing can be effected. A tribe possessing ... a greater number of courageous, sympathetic, and faithful members, who were always ready to warn each other of danger, to aid and defend each other ... would spread and be victorious over other tribes.”Read more at location 2089
Note: DARWIN GIÀ CONSAPEVOLE: I CONTI NN QUADRANO Edit
The mechanism, proposed by Darwin, is now known as “group selection”—Read more at location 2091
Note: GROUP SELECTION Edit
Think about two types, altruistic “saints” and self-interested “knaves.” It is true that groups that have many saints will be doing better than groups with lots of knaves. However, in addition to this between-group competition, there is a within-group competition between saints and knaves, which saints inevitably lose.Read more at location 2096
Note: SANTI E FURFANTI. PERCHE LA PRIMA VERSIONE DI GROUP SELECTION FALLISCE Edit
prosocial actions of the saints are spread evenly among all group members, including the knaves, but the costs are born entirely by the saints.Read more at location 2099
Overall, numbers of saints will change as the result of two opposing tendencies: between-group competition that causes saint numbers to increase, and within-group competition that causes their numbers to decline. It is hard to say which process will prevail without doing calculations. Unfortunately for the group-selection theory, mathematical models show that, except under quite unusual circumstances, the individual (within group) selection will almost always overwhelm group selection.Read more at location 2101
Note: NUMERO DEI SANTI Edit
Note: FINE DEI SANTI Edit
The “individual-selectionist” view became the dogma in the field of evolutionary biology as seen in, for example, Richard Dawkins’s book The Selfish Gene.Read more at location 2107
Note: SELFISH GENE Edit
in Dawkins’ own book he discusses at least three distinct units of selection. These units are the gene (which is reflected in the very title), the individual, and the group of relatives (Hamilton’s kin selection). Individuals, after all, are not unitary, structureless “atoms” (despite the name—individuum—meaning “undividable”). They are made up of organs, tissues, and cells, and each cell contains many genes. It might be in the common interest for genes to cooperate to ensure the cell’s proper functioning, but there could also be incentives for selfish genes to free-ride on this collective effort. Similarly, cells usually cooperate to promote the survival and reproduction of the organism, but at times this cooperation breaks down, and a bunch of knavish cells begins to increase at the expense of the cooperative ones. We know this as cancer.Read more at location 2110
Note: GIÀ IN D. TRE LIVELLI Edit
Note: CANCRO. Edit
It is now becoming broadly accepted that natural selection operates at all levels simultaneously—genes, cells, organisms, groups of relatives, and simply groups.Read more at location 2117
Note: OGGI Edit
Empirical examples of group selection in nature are rare. Humans, on the other hand, are unique in the biological world in their capacity for thought, communication, and culture,Read more at location 2120
Note: SPECIALITÀ DELL UOMO Edit
Probably the most important difference between humans and other organisms is the unique importance of cultural transmission of behaviors in humans.Read more at location 2123
Note: CULTURAL SELECTION Edit
What makes cultural transmission really distinct from genetic inheritance is that people can learn from other people, not only from their parents. Young people adopt certain behaviors by imitating a particularly successful or charismatic individual in their tribe. They are also taught many things by the tribal elders, from catching fish to telling the truth.Read more at location 2130
Note: MAESTRI CARISMATICI. ALTRUISTI CARISMATICI. MAKE UP GENETICO Edit
Note: GLI ANZIANI Edit
Of course, any kinds of behaviors can spread by imitation and teaching, both beneficial and harmful for the group. That is why the competition between groups is so important—it weeds out groups that have fixated on harmful practices. For example, take the ritual consumption of the brains of deceased relatives among the Fore people of New Guinea. This turned out to be a bad practice because it allowed the transmission of a neurodegenerative disease known as Kuru.Read more at location 2133
Note: MANGIAR CERVELLI Edit
people are very smart when it comes to social interactions. This unique ability of humans enables us to become very efficient moralists.Read more at location 2141
Note: MORALISTI EFFICIENTI Edit
Unlike chimps, however, who enjoy eating meat but can capture only small prey, our ancestors learned how to hunt large game in the savannas of Africa. Humans eventually learned (perhaps too well) how to kill large mammals,Read more at location 2146
Note: CACCIATORI Edit
What made primitive humans such fearsome killers? Not their teeth or claws, obviously, but their ability to hunt cooperatively.Read more at location 2150
Note: COOPERAZIONE Edit
Only collective vigilance and cooperative defense could protect humans against saber-tooth tigers and cave bears.Read more at location 2153
Even more importantly, as humans got better at hunting large game, they also got better at killing other humans.Read more at location 2155
Note: GENCIDI Edit
warfare (that is, any kind of organized fighting, from several chimps waylaying and killing a member of a different band to trench warfare involving millions during World War 1) became the most important force of group selection. Several kinds of evidence show that early humans practiced extensive warfare. For example, we know that interband warfare is very common among the chimps, our closest evolutionary relatives.Read more at location 2156
Note: LA GUERRA COME STRUMENTO DI SELEZIONE Edit
The anthropologist Lawrence H. Keeley presents evidence that somewhere between 20 percent and 60 percent of males in these societies die in wars.Read more at location 2159
Kin groups consisting of familial moralists would be able to achieve a higher degree of cooperation, and greater fitness, than groups consisting of those who cooperate with relatives, but do not punish uncooperative ones. As a result, familial moralism will spread through the population.Read more at location 2170
Note: UN MODELLO EVOLUTIVO: I MORALISTI VINCONO Edit
Now suppose that a cognitive mutation arises in a population of familial moralists. Instead of limiting cooperation (and punishment of noncooperators) to relatives only, these mutants also—“mistakenly”—cooperate with unrelated people they know, friends.Read more at location 2172
Note: MORALISTI A LARGO RAGGIO Edit
think how readily kinship terms enter our discourse when we want to promote cooperation—a band of brothers, the father of a nation, or our motherland.Read more at location 2175
groups containing moralists acquired the ability to raise larger war bands, because they were not limited to relatives.Read more at location 2177
Note: WARARE Edit
Thus, group-level selection favored the spread of true moralistic behaviors. At the same time, within-group (individual) selection against the moralists was extremely weak, because after the moralists tip the group over to a cooperative equilibrium, punishments become so infrequent that they hardly impose any costs on the moralists.Read more at location 2179
If a moralistic individual turned out to be a very successful hunter or a particularly charismatic person, he or she would be emulated by the young members of the group. The moralistic behavior, then, will rapidly spread within the group.Read more at location 2185
Note: CULTURAL SELECTION Edit
Moralism in the form, say, of a religious commandment from Muhammad can spread rapidly to other groups.Read more at location 2187
Note: GRUPPO VASTO Edit
The Romans did not wear pants, but any German foolish enough to imitate that aspect of the Roman cultural package would not survive the next winter, never mind the next night out partying with the guys. On the other hand, the Romans had discipline and fought in close ranks. When the Germans imitated this particular cultural practice, they found that it worked for them, too.Read more at location 2194
Note: LA CULTURA MIGLIORE SO DIFFONDE Edit
WHEN HUMANS EVOLVED THE ABILITY to cooperate with unrelated individuals, they relied on face-to-face interactions and memory to distinguish friends and acquaintances from the enemies or untrustworthy individuals in the group.Read more at location 2207
Note: FACCIA A FACCIA Edit
we cannot remember everyone on Earth,Read more at location 2213
Note: MEMORIA Edit
As the size of the group increases, the number of relationships to remember explodes.Read more at location 2214
humans live in the largest groups, and have the largest brains, but a limit is inescapable. “The figure of 150,” estimates the British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, “seems to represent the maximum number of individuals with whom we can have a genuinely social relationship,Read more at location 2217
Note: CERVELLONI INSUFFICIENTI Edit
Note: 150 Edit
150 is very close to the average size of villages in hunter-gatherer societies.Read more at location 2221
Note: VILLAGGIO Edit
Evolution had to find another way for humans to distinguish between those with whom to cooperate and those who should be killedRead more at location 2225
Note: PENSIERO SIMBOLICO Edit
The distinctly human ability to invent and manipulate symbols was an important aspect of evolution of ultrasociality. In fact, as the Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934) and his school argued, all higher forms of human cognition have social origins.Read more at location 2227
Note: INTELLIGENZA E SOCIALITÀ Edit
One example of a symbol representing a social group is the totem of American Indians. As the great French sociologist Emile Durkheim recognized almost a century ago, the totem is “the symbol of the determined society called the clan.Read more at location 2234
Note: TOTEM Edit
Note: CLAN Edit
Another example is the standard of a Roman legion, called the Eagle. The Eagle was a sacred emblem of the legion;Read more at location 2236
Note: ACQUILA Edit
Because of our psychological makeup, we tend to think of social groups, such as nations, as more real than they are “in reality.”Read more at location 2239
Note: OLISMO Edit
The capacity for symbolic thinking was the last great evolutionary innovation that made possible human ultrasociality. People now did not need to know personally another individual in order to determine whether to cooperate with him, or treat him as an enemy.Read more at location 2250
Note: BANDIERA Edit
Particularly good diagnostic features are religious observances and ritual actions.Read more at location 2252
Note: RELIGIONE Edit
“It’s 1992 and I am sitting in a bar in Harare, Zimbabwe,” wrote Patrick Neate in Where You’re At, “when a guy walks in wearing a Lakers vest and Chipie jeans, his hair is neatly dreaded and he walks with a rolling ease of the B-boy swagger. He clocks my Karl Kanis and second pair of Air Jordans and comes straight over. ‘Yo, my brother, wassup?’” Here were two complete strangers, one a Zimbabwean black kid, another a white kid from Chippenham, U.K., but they instantly recognized each other as being “us,” members of the same hip-hop subculture—from they way they dressed, the way they walked or even sat, the way they were “blunted.”Read more at location 2254
Note: HIP HOP CULTURE Edit
In other words, the evolution of symbolic thinking enabled defining as “us” a group of any size.Read more at location 2262
Arab proverb “I against my brothers; I and my brothers against my cousins; I, my brothers, and my cousins against the world.”Read more at location 2275
Note: NIDO Edit