Snuggle for survival

Honey bees, vampire bats and meerkats are on display in this sideshow in this month’s Scientific American on the role of co-operation in evolution.

Drawing on his recent book and academic research, Martin Nowak (Professor of Biology and Mathematics) outlines five drivers for co-operation which explain its central role in human behaviour over time. In my words (with the proper, technical terms in brackets), these are:

1. I scratch your back because you scratch mine (direct reciprocity)
2. People around me can get into scratching (spatial selection)
3. We scratch in our family (kin selection)
4. I scratch your back because someone else will scratch mine (indirect reciprocity)
5. I scratch because it is good that I do (group selection)

A range of beautiful images on co-operation and co-operative enterprise around the world is also now touring Britain in the form of a fabulous street gallery developed by the Co-operative Group. Launched in Brighton around Co-operatives Fortnight, this will form part of the global co-operative festival, Co-operatives United, running from October 29th to November 2nd 2012 out of Manchester.

In a nice phrase, this is all what Nowak terms ‘the snuggle for survival’.

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2 thoughts on “Snuggle for survival

  1. Hee hee, well done both
    5 drivers of capitalism
    I scratch your back and make sure you and your descendants are eternally in my debt (class snuggle)
    I scratch your back only if I get more in return (direct exploitation)
    You scratch my back and I get my friend to (maybe) scratch yours (sub-prime snuggle)
    I scratch your back and ensure you can never be free of the debt (quantitative sn-easing)
    You scratch my back and I run off with the back-scratcher (bankers’ reciprocity)

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