Cooperating Versus Competing: The Human Struggle
Are human beings naturally inclined to be cooperative or competitive? As with most matters of human behavior, the answers aren’t always clear-cut. There is plenty of disagreement on the subject, and I will explore both sides in this chapter.
Economic and rational choice theories point to our competitive nature and a propensity to put our own self-interest ahead of the well-being of the group. Garrett Hardin was one of the first modern writers to describe this dilemma and its consequences in his classic article, “The Tragedy of the Commons.” Hardin uses the analogy of a common pasture available to everyone to explain why our primary inclination is to maximize personal benefit.
Hardin starts ...