Re: SOCIOLOGY: Cooperation & ANGER

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Sun Jan 13 2002 - 10:21:04 MST

Anger plays key role in human cooperation
by Anil Ananthaswamy

It's not love, affection or even blatant self-interest that binds human
societies together - it's anger, according to Swiss researchers. They made the
unsettling discovery while trying to fathom what makes people cooperate.

Traditional explanations, such as kinship and reciprocal altruism, rely on
genetic relationships or self-interest. These work for animals, but fail for
humans because people cooperate with strangers they may never meet again, and
when the pay-off is not obvious.

Such cooperation can be explained if punishment of freeloaders or
"free-riders" - those who do not contribute to a group but benefit from it -
taken into account. However, in real life, punishment is rarely without cost
the punisher. So why should someone punish a free-rider? Because of
driven altruism, says Ernst Fehr, an economist at the University of Zurich in

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We move into a better future in proportion as the scientific method
accurately identifies incorrect thinking.

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