Science overturns view of humans as naturally 'nasty'

Feb 20, 2012
Photo illustration. Biological research increasingly debunks the view of humanity as competitive, aggressive and brutish, a leading specialist in primate behavior told a major science conference.

Biological research increasingly debunks the view of humanity as competitive, aggressive and brutish, a leading specialist in primate behavior told a major science conference Monday.

"Humans have a lot of pro-social tendencies," Frans de Waal, a biologist at Emory University in Atlanta, told the annual meeting of the .

New research on higher animals from and elephants to mice shows there is a for behavior such as cooperation, said de Waal, author of "The Age of Empathy: Nature's Lessons for a Kinder Society."

Until just 12 years ago, the common view among scientists was that humans were "nasty" at the core but had developed a veneer of morality -- albeit a thin one, de Waal told scientists and journalists from some 50 countries.

But human children -- and most higher animals -- are "moral" in a scientific sense, because they need to cooperate with each other to reproduce and pass on their genes, he said.

Research has disproved the view, dominant since the 19th century, typical of biologist Thomas Henry Huxley's argument that morality is absent in nature and something created by humans, said de Waal.

And common assumptions that the harsh view was promoted by , the so-called father of evolution, are also wrong, he said.

"Darwin was much smarter than most of his followers," said de Waal, quoting from Darwin's "The Descent of Man" that animals that developed "well-marked social instincts would inevitably acquire a or conscience."

De Waal showed the audience videos from laboratories revealing the dramatic of a monkey denied a treat that another monkey received; and of a rat giving up chocolate in order to help another rat escape from a trap.

Such research shows that animals naturally have pro-social tendencies for ", fairness, empathy and consolation," said de Waal, a Dutch biologist at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

"Human morality is unthinkable without empathy."

Asked if wide public acceptance of empathy as natural would change the intense competition on which capitalist economic and political systems are based, de Waal quipped, "I'm just a monkey watcher."

But he told reporters that research also shows animals bestow their empathy on animals they are familiar with in their "in-group" -- and that natural tendency is a challenge in a globalized human world.

"Morality" developed in humans in small communities, he said, adding: "It's a challenge... it's experimental for the human species to apply a system intended for (in-groups) to the whole world."

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Sean_W
2.5 / 5 (8) Feb 20, 2012
Asked if wide public acceptance of empathy as natural would change the intense competition on which capitalist economic and political systems are based, de Waal quipped, "I'm just a monkey watcher."


Yes, if we were just more comfortable being compassionate we would all sign on to Stalinism.
_nigmatic10
2.7 / 5 (7) Feb 21, 2012
Asked if wide public acceptance of empathy as natural would change the intense competition on which capitalist economic and political systems are based, de Waal quipped, "I'm just a monkey watcher."


Wow. nice side shot at western civilization they did there. Wonder who it was that framed such a nefarious question into the study.
vdoomer
3 / 5 (4) Feb 21, 2012
Sean W and nigmatic10, you two are naive. You can still have a competitive market without being ruthlessly competitive. To say that we can have either complete laissez-faire capitalism or communism is a false dilemma.
outis
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 21, 2012
Sean_W - Stalinism is a brutal form of capitalism. Along with the developments of stalinism, including Castroism, Maoism, Juche, and Hoxhaism, and, to a degree, its direct competitor of Trotskyism. Socialism is not dictatorship, and it is not a totalitarian police state. It is a form of economic organization where the workers own and control the means of production while producing based on need. This is not present in Stalinism, where the government owns everything and commands you to do XYZ or you're sent to a gulag. For an accurate example of socialism, look at the Paris Commune of 1871, at the Ukraine Free Territory circa 1918-1921, and at Anarchist Spain circa 1936.
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (6) Feb 21, 2012
Socialism is not dictatorship, and it is not a totalitarian police state.

That is its end state when the participants don't want to 'share', or be 'legally' plundered by the state or run out of other people's money.

Read The Law by Bastiat, Socialism by Mises or The Road to Serfdom by Hayek for descriptions of socialism.
outis
1 / 5 (2) Feb 21, 2012
ryggesogn2: Mises, Hayek, and Bastiat are woefully misinformed. Socialism can only form out of a mass worker movement and is stateless, though not without voluntary administration. If you bothered to look at the examples I mentioned, you'd see that.

Further, Mises was an apologist for fascism (inclusive of Nazism), see "Liberalism, the Argument of Fascism" by Mises
Deathclock
1.8 / 5 (5) Feb 21, 2012
The evolutionary origin of and methods of selection for empathy and altruism are well understood.
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (6) Feb 21, 2012
Socialism can only form out of a mass worker movement and is stateless,

A mass worker movement against what?
The only successful socialist systems I can think of are monasteries.
What happens to your socialist system when one worker doesn't want to work?
BTW, Fascism is a form of socialism (state control of property).
outis
1 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2012
A mass worker movement against business owners and land owners, to take the means of production and leverage them in their own interests as opposed to making businessmen rich at the workers' expense, while dissolving the coercive government. I provided three successful examples of socialism, as I stated in my previous post. They were crushed by external military forces. The Paris Commune crushed by the French Army, the Ukraine Territory crushed by the Bolsheviks, and the Spanish Anarchist regions by Franco's armies (who were aided by Stalin).

Socialism is stateless. State control of property is not socialism. Fascism was supported by business interests and land-owners as a protection against the tide of socialist revolutionary sentiment at the time, by merging business interests with government. Business continued to exist in fascism, and flourished. Mises himself supported fascism, as I stated before.
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (6) Feb 21, 2012
A mass worker movement against business owners and land owners, to take

How do you plan to 'take'? How do you plan to organize your army to 'take'?
Who owns the property you 'take'?
The only successful communes I can think of require ALL, each and everyone, to be volunteers.
As soon as ONE individual doesn't want to give more, you must kill him or exile him. Soon your commune will shrink or you will create a dictatorship.
outis
1 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2012
Instead of playing into your straw men, I'll yet again point to the Paris Commune, the Ukraine Free Territory, and the Marxist / Anarchist regions of spain. However, it's likely in vain, as you're simply resorting to a rhetorical and semantic argument instead of examining socialist theory.

Further, there is no "consent" in capitalism.
ryggesogn2
2.1 / 5 (7) Feb 21, 2012
"consent" in capitalism.

Of course there is.
A capitalist must persuade people to invest and buy their products.

You said that socialism is stateless.
What is this: "Taxes are replaced by the contribution of federated communes raised from the rich classes ...."
{How are they to be 'raised'? Plundered"}
"...replaced in the federated communes by Committees for the Salvation of France, which will exercise all powers under the immediate control of the people....TO ARMS!"

Sound like a govt to me.
mikelhawley
3 / 5 (2) Feb 21, 2012
This shows we all have a sense of morality for those we meet, but the a society built around total selflessness could never work in it's current form. With the limitations of the human brain, it's impossible to feel empathy for everyone and with the complexity of every decision, it's impossible to consider everything.

Fundamentally everyone needs to look out for themselves, before then helping other.
ryggesogn2
2.1 / 5 (7) Feb 21, 2012
This shows we all have a sense of morality for those we meet, but the a society built around total selflessness could never work in it's current form. With the limitations of the human brain, it's impossible to feel empathy for everyone and with the complexity of every decision, it's impossible to consider everything.

Fundamentally everyone needs to look out for themselves, before then helping other.

It has been called 'self interest' by Adam Smith, and others.
outis
1 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2012
Of course there is.
A capitalist must persuade people to invest and buy their products.

A worker who must choose between wasting their life for a pittance and starvation is not making a choice at all. It's akin to asking someone if they would prefer to kill themselves or for you to poison them slowly. I do not consent to capitalism, yet it is a global system that I am unable to remove myself from.
You said that socialism is stateless.
What is this: "Taxes are replaced by the contribution of federated communes raised from the rich classes ...."
{How are they to be 'raised'? Plundered"}
"...replaced in the federated communes by Committees for the Salvation of France, which will exercise all powers under the immediate control of the people....TO ARMS!"

Sound like a govt to me.

Again, you're arguing semantics. Horizontal governance and the State are not the same.
ryggesogn2
2.1 / 5 (7) Feb 21, 2012
A worker who must choose between wasting their life for a pittance and starvation is not making a choice at all.

Under socialism, there is no incentive for a entrepreneur to compete by creating a better way or to create a new product which creates more opportunities, and wealth, for the the worker.

So how did the Paris communists plan to 'raise' taxes from the rich? Assemble a mob and steal it?
So you are saying socialism is mob rule. Sounds like a self destructive system (which it is) as 51% steal from the 49%. But the total population must decrease as the 49% are either murdered or run away.
outis
1 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2012
Your assumption that an "entrepreneur" would be present in socialism only exhibits your obvious ignorance. Production of goods and services rendered, in all historical examples, was based on what was desired by the residents, independent of any profit motive.

The "raising" of taxes was an appropriation of monetary hoards by the workers as a temporary means of managing some tasks. In its most mature form, socialism is without currency. The Parisian Army crushed the commune before the revolution could be complete. Accusing the Paris Commune of "mob rule" is akin to denouncing a slave revolt that removes the slave-owning family from the area as "mob rule". The necessity of profit as the only possible "guiding force" for society is a false premise.
ryggesogn2
2.3 / 5 (6) Feb 21, 2012
all historical examples, was based on what was desired by the residents, independent of any profit motive.

What examples?
What if residents desired a product that required significant capital investment and was quite risky? Did residents desire an electric lamp until Edison spent significant time and resources to invent one?
an appropriation of monetary hoards by the workers

So it was a loan? How was the monetary hoard appropriated and why did they need money anyway? Socialism doesn't need money.
kochevnik
3.3 / 5 (7) Feb 21, 2012
Outis please don't mind ryggesogn2. It is a mindless spamming robot which googles some keyword links, with the apparent aim of promoting the Koch brothers. Occasionally some mentally deficient writer fills in the gaps when no retorts come up on google. Apparently the Koch conglomerate doesn't pay it's spammers well.
outis
Feb 21, 2012
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
ryggesogn2
1.8 / 5 (5) Feb 22, 2012
kochevnik: it all makes sense now

Yes, it does.
Socialists don't respond to tough questions because they can't respond rationally about an irrational system, socialism.
pemborsky
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 22, 2012
Socialism isn't irrational, it simply becomes impractical when applied on a large scale. @outjs stated,

" It is a form of economic organization where the workers own and control the means of production while producing based on need",

however absent a price mechanism, the information needed to produce based on need cannot be effectively communicated. This is known as the Economic Calculation Problem.

pemborsky
5 / 5 (1) Feb 22, 2012
I highly recommend that anyone commmenting in this thread check out Praxgirl's youtube channel. She made a series of videos with in-depth explanations of direct exchange, indirect exchange(money), and their role in a voluntary society.
ryggesogn2
1.8 / 5 (5) Feb 22, 2012
Socialism isn't irrational, it simply becomes impractical when applied on a large scale. @outjs stated,


I have stated the only successful communes I have observed are religious based and 100% voluntary, and could not survive without support from the capitalists around them.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.8 / 5 (5) Feb 22, 2012
Until just 12 years ago, the common view among scientists was that humans were "nasty" at the core but had developed a veneer of morality
No it wasnt. The workings of the tribal dynamic have been understood for centuries.

"Darwin considered the possibility of (violent) intergroup competition in (early) hominid/human evolution in his tentative explanation of the evolution of morality and other specifically human qualities:
"There can be no doubt that a tribe including many members who, from possessing in a high degree the spirit of patriotism, fidelity, obedience, courage, and sympathy, were always ready to give aid to each other and to sacrifice themselves for the common good, would be victorious over most other tribes; and this would be natural selection" (Darwin, 1871)

IOW internal altruism in conjunction with external animosity. Tribal instinct is genetic. Society today struggles to extend this dynamic over the entire species. Only this can produce a universal morality.
outis
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 22, 2012
pemborsky: The critique you mentioned is regarding centralized economic planning, which would apply to the USSR. The USSR was a variation of capitalism. Most socialists today argue in favor of a decentralized model. Technology such as computers and the internet will allow for quick access to who thinks they will need what in a given region. The applicaple producers will then send goods. Most marxists agree that capitalism must develop (infrastructure, etc) before socialism is feasible.

ryggesogn2: That assertion regarding the only communes is false, for the seventieth time. Pretending historical examples don't exist is childish.

Capital would not exist in socialism, therefore the assertion that a development would "need" capital is false. People, engineers, chemists, etc would simply be able to conduct research freely. Absent of the problems currency presents through limitation of access to resources via artificial scarcity.

Fun Fact: Albert Einstein was a socialist
kochevnik
2.3 / 5 (6) Feb 22, 2012
Yes even communist leader Zyuganov argued for a decentralized city plan. The economic argument that needs cannot be accounted for is made archaic by the Internet and wireless smartphones.
ryggesogn2
1.8 / 5 (5) Feb 22, 2012
Pretending historical examples don't exist is childish.

You pretend they exist.
People, engineers, chemists, etc would simply be able to conduct research freely

Who would feed them? Why would they feed them? How would you measure the value of any research?
Fred Koch invented a more efficient process to refine oil. The Soviets hired him to improve their process.

You need to explain and provide some references to prove your assertion the USSR was capitalist.

Like most 'liberals'/socialists here you supply only your assertions.
outis
4 / 5 (4) Feb 22, 2012
Pretending historical examples don't exist is childish.

You pretend they exist.

So the workers never seized portions of Spain, and the Makhnovists never seized parts of Ukraine, and Paris was never seized by the workers. Clearly you're the one denying history.
Who would feed them? Why would they feed them? How would you measure the value of any research?

They would be fed by people who produce food. The same as it is now. The value of research would be judged by how useful it is, not how profitable it is.
Fred Koch invented a more efficient process to refine oil. The Soviets hired him to improve their process.

You need to explain and provide some references to prove your assertion the USSR was capitalist.

Like most 'liberals'/socialists here you supply only your assertions.

The notion of "state capitalism" is explored by Pannekoek in State Capitalism and Dictatorship. Like most capitalists, you don't understand marxism and think I'm a "liberal."
antialias_physorg
4.2 / 5 (5) Feb 22, 2012
Humans aren't anything at their core. Not nasty nor nice. We react to our environment. THAT is what evolution gave us. If it's advantageous to be nasty we'll be nasty. If it's advantageous to be nice we'll be nice.

Only those who take advantage of their environment survive - and those who do it best outbreed the rest. If that means forming groups and protecting each other then that's what we'll do. The minute it means going solo then that's what we'll do.

If that weren't true and humans were naturally 'good' then you could put humans in a situation where 'nasty' wins and watch them die. Every last one. But that doesn't happen.
kochevnik
2.3 / 5 (6) Feb 22, 2012
Humans aren't anything at their core.
Indeed, humans are task driven as evident at the neural level. Adapt to the environment, adapt the environment to oneself, or die.
@ryggesogn2 Fred Koch invented a more efficient process to refine oil. The Soviets hired him to improve their process.
So that simply proves he preferred Stalin's CCCP as the best economic model. Especially in light of the fact the West utterly rejected him and he was destitute. Stalin remade him.
pemborsky
1 / 5 (1) Feb 22, 2012
@ryggesogn2 You're absolutely right that participation must be voluntary. I don't think capitalists are necessary for the survival of socialist communitites, though without them their structure of production will remain relatively stagnant and their standard of living fairly primitive I would gather. Hey so long as people are free to opt out and trade with one another without threat of violence from the state, I say let em go for it!
outis
3 / 5 (2) Feb 22, 2012
@ryggesogn2 Fred Koch invented a more efficient process to refine oil. The Soviets hired him to improve their process.
So that simply proves he preferred Stalin's CCCP as the best economic model. Especially in light of the fact the West utterly rejected him and he was destitute. Stalin remade him.

I'll add to this by stating that despite the fact that Stalin made him rich, Fred Koch deeply admired Benito Mussolini and supported fascism (along with most businessmen at the time). He believed that there was a "black conspiracy to kill white people" in the United States.
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (6) Feb 22, 2012
I don't think capitalists are necessary for the survival of socialist communitites,

Socialist communities depend upon the protection provided by capitalist, free societies.
Otherwise the communists would be attacked by the statist/socialists.

the workers never seized portions of Spain

Seized? You 'peaceful' socialists like to use violent terms. How did these 'peaceful' socialists seize anything? And how would they decide to protect what was seized without some type of organized militia or army? Who would be the leader?
ryggesogn2
1.8 / 5 (5) Feb 22, 2012
Fred Koch deeply admired Benito Mussolini and supported fascism

FDR admired Mussolini and admired fascism.
"FDR's personal letters reveal that he was impressed by what Mussolini was doing and said that he kept in close touch with that "admirable gentleman."[8] Mussolini himself praised the New Deal as following his own corporate state, as quoted in a July 1933 article in the New York Times, "Your plan for coordination of industry follows precisely our lines of cooperation.""
http://en.wikiped...sforth-8
outis
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 22, 2012
You have discovered precisely why national liberation movements are in vain. Socialism will need to be on a wide scale to succeed. This is the theory of internationalism. I am not a "pacifist" socialist, that is utopian. You also created a false dichotomy between "socialism" and "free society". Nice rhetoric.

The militia in Spain was made up of literally anyone who wanted to fight (which was, for all practical purposes, nearly everybody in Catalonia) for socialism. The two main groups were the CNT-FAI, the Anarcho-Syndicalists, and the POUM, the Marxists/Left-Communists, who George Orwell joined. These militias doubled as a military fighting Franco's Fascist and Carlist forces. Although, the Communist Party of Spain (Stalinist) would show their true colors by sabotaging the CNT and POUM through withholding necessary wartime supplies, paving the way for Franco to win, sealing the fate of Spain until the 1970s.

By the way, FDR was a capitalist. I don't car
pemborsky
5 / 5 (1) Feb 22, 2012
@outjs By chance are you a fan of the Venus Project because the flawed assertions you're espousing on economics sound very similar to those of Peter Joseph. One cannot simply 'use the internet' to find out what people need. There's no guarantee that everyone would respond but, more importantly, people don't know what they need. Market data is transmitted via voluntary exchanges and prices to determine the marginal utility of goods.
ryggesogn2
1.8 / 5 (5) Feb 22, 2012
@outjs By chance are you a fan of the Venus Project because the flawed assertions you're espousing on economics sound very similar to those of Peter Joseph. One cannot simply 'use the internet' to find out what people need. There's no guarantee that everyone would respond but, more importantly, people don't know what they need. Market data is transmitted via voluntary exchanges and prices to determine the marginal utility of goods.

How many people KNEW they NEEDED an Ipod?

FDR was a socialist.

Socialists in Spain fought? I thought they were peaceful.

Orwell wrote 1984 as a critique of socialism.
outis
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 22, 2012
pemborsky: I don't know what the venus project is. I am a Marxist. Specifically, a left-communist with Anarchist sympathies.

ryggesogn2:
Socialists are not "pacifists" nor are they "peaceful". Those are loaded words, anyhow.
Now you're just trolling. FDR's New Deal preserved capitalism in a time of crisis. He was a capitalist. Just like Otto von Bismarck, who championed the modern welfare state as a means of placating workers to protect the ruling class from revolution. Unfortunately the Misesian definition of socialism describes a distinct form of capitalism, which you fail to comprehend.

And for the record, Orwell was a Marxist. 1984 was a critique of Stalinism.
Regarding the budding socialism in catalonia, he remarked:
"It was the first time that I had ever been in a town where the working class was in the saddle ... There was much in it that I did not understand, in some ways I did not even like it, but I recognized it immediately as a state of affairs worth fighting for."
ryggesogn2
1.7 / 5 (6) Feb 23, 2012
FDR's New Deal preserved capitalism in a time of crisis.

No, it expanded socialism. Expanded state power. Extended economic depression. All features of socialism.
pemborsky
not rated yet Feb 23, 2012
@ryggesogn2 Marxists use the word capitalism to describe not freed markets, but state-secured privilege akin to modern-day mercantilism. So, in this context, the statement is valid.

@outjs All -ists aside, do have a response to the rest of my comment?
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) Feb 23, 2012
@ryggesogn2 Marxists use the word capitalism to describe not freed markets, but state-secured privilege akin to modern-day mercantilism. So, in this context, the statement is valid.

@outjs All -ists aside, do have a response to the rest of my comment?

State control of private property is socialism, as Mises defined.
It doesn't matter if the state is controlled by a dictator or 'the people'.
Socialism is an anti-individual construct.
As outis describes his version of socialism it sounds very much like what God wanted for His people.
Even the Pilgrims in the US discovered this socialism leads to starvation.
outis
not rated yet Feb 23, 2012
ryggesogn2: Mises was wrong when he defined socialism. Until you can understand that, I won't continue this. It's like me saying capitalism is a kind of donut.

pemborsky: It looks like the Venus Project is some sort of liberal lifestylism ... and would fall under the category of "petty-bourgeois utopianism" (think Proudhonism) for attempting to build a society "underneath" the current one as a means of ... 'dropping out' ... without having a coherent, logical plan to implement it. But that's my first impression, it actually seems kind of creepy and new-age.

As for the rest of your comment, people today don't really "know what they need", so overproduction makes up for it by sending massive amounts of food to towns, much of which is then wasted and thrown away. Most Marxists agree that socialism would only be possible when it is technologically possible to manage the logistics of all this, so most also see Capitalism as being necessary to develop the infrastructure to that point first
kochevnik
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 23, 2012
FDR's New Deal preserved capitalism in a time of crisis
No, it expanded socialism. Expanded state power. Extended economic depression. All features of socialism.
Oh, like the GOP has for the last three decades?
State control of private property is socialism, as Mises defined. It doesn't matter if the state is controlled by a dictator or 'the people'.
No it's not, dweebus. It's called public property. You want a toll gate on every square concrete slab of sidewalk. Each slab with different prices, I might add. And a vending device on every home flush toilet. In short you want the reinstatement of 100% totalitarian tenancy, which was expunged from England for profoundly practical reasons.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (3) Feb 23, 2012
Humans aren't anything at their core. Not nasty nor nice. We react to our environment. THAT is what evolution gave us. If it's advantageous to be nasty we'll be nasty. If it's advantageous to be nice we'll be nice.
This is 'tabula rasa' behavioralism from the last century. Humans do indeed possess evolutionarily-derived behaviors related to survival and reproduction. The study of these is evolutionary psychology.
http://en.wikiped...ychology

One of these evolved traits is tribalism and the relative morality related to it.

"People have postulated that the human brain is hard-wired towards tribalism due to its evolutionary advantages"
http://en.wikiped...ribalism

TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (3) Feb 23, 2012
"Socially, divisions between groups fosters specialized interactions with others, based on association: altruism (positive interactions with unrelated members), kin-selectivity (positive interactions with related members), and violence (negative interactions). Thus, groups with a strong sense of unity and identity can benefit from kin selection behavior such as common property and shared resources. The tendency of members to unite against an outside tribe and the ability to act violently and prejudicially against that outside tribe likely boosted the chances of survival in genocidal conflicts."

Tribalism also explains the endless political debate.

"complex societies (and corporations) rely upon the tribal instincts of their members for their organization and survival. For example, a representative democracy relies on the ability of a "tribe" of representatives to organize and deal with the problems of an entire nation."

-Just as the world now relies on a Tribe of Leaders... Empire.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (2) Feb 23, 2012
Mises was wrong when he defined socialism.

So you say.
Basiat also referred to socialism as legal plunder.
Again, it is all the same, anti-individual.
kochevnik
3 / 5 (2) Feb 23, 2012
Mises was wrong when he defined socialism.

So you say.
Basiat also referred to socialism as legal plunder.
Again, it is all the same, anti-individual.
And yet individuals in nations highest in living standards seem to benefit very well from their socialist governments. If they're drinking too much, whose fault is that?
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (2) Feb 23, 2012
And yet individuals in nations highest in living standards seem to benefit very well from their socialist governments.

Do they?
"Where will you find the worlds best quality of life? Going by numbers alone, the winner is clear: the United States."
http://internatio...fe-2011/
kochevnik
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 23, 2012
And yet individuals in nations highest in living standards seem to benefit very well from their socialist governments.

Do they?
"Where will you find the worlds best quality of life? Going by numbers alone, the winner is clear: the United States."
Read this insipid bullshiyte: "Statistics dont tell the whole story, of course. But well start by letting the numbers have their say. The U.S. has the biggest economy in the world andwhen compared to the 191 other countries in our survey, earns the highest marks for infrastructure. It scores respectably across the rest of our nine categories as wellcost of living, culture, environment, freedom, health, and safety. And thus, on a strictly statistical basis, the U.S. is hard to beat. A clear, if uninspiring, winner."

Infrastructure has been deteriorating since 1930. Worst in healthcare. Plummeting life expectancy. Laughably, you have to pull up a travel magazine to make the US look as good as it did in the 70s. Pathetic
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (2) Feb 23, 2012
The ratings from International Living are for those who can leave where they are now currently living.
I didn't notice many people choosing to live in Scandinavia.
And I do know many Scandinavians who choose to leave, if they can.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (3) Feb 23, 2012
"The law of Jante

1. Thou shalt not believe thou art something.
2. Thou shalt not believe thou art as good as we.
3. Thou shalt not believe thou art more wise than we.
4. Thou shalt not fancy thyself better than we.
5. Thou shalt not believe thou knowest more than we.
6. Thou shalt not believe thou art greater than we.
7. Thou shalt not believe thou amountest to anything.
8. Thou shalt not laugh at us.
9. Thou shalt not believe that anyone is concerned with thee.
10. Thou shalt not believe thou canst teach us anything.

The enforcers of the law are of course the same people opressed by it, the citizens of Jante. Sandemose said that it was in our culture to keep each other down in Scandinavia. "
http://wsogmm.h2g.../A668694
Now we know why the drink so much.
outis
5 / 5 (1) Feb 23, 2012
ryggesogn2 is clearly a cultural chauvinist

Mises et al incorrectly defined socialism. Socialism is an economic system in which the means of production are held in the commons (distinctly different from government "public" ownership), private land ownership is abolished (in favor of common, not public, ownership), currency is no longer used as are markets, and production is based on need. Socialism is hardly "anti-individual", it is the only system in which an individual can experience complete liberty - free association, freedom of labor, et cetera. Propertarianism seeks to directly deprive individuals of free association through remote holding of land as private, wage labor, rent, et cetera.
outis
not rated yet Feb 24, 2012
pemborsky: more of an elaboration, most marxists theorize that a system of councils can be used to communicate demand of a given product in a given area. For example, the Kings County Council would communicate to the New York City District Council that they require X pounds of food item A (think a wal-mart buying 30,000 tomatoes). If said food item is not available in the NYCDC's supply store, and nobody in the NYCDC area produces it, it would move up to the New York Regional Council, or whatever you want to call it. Due to technological developments, such as software and expanded internet infrastructure, though not explicitly limited to just that. You may see this as inefficient, however keep in mind that markets are not the most efficient either.

If you want to look at price as a measure of efficiency in production, something like labor hours could be used to measure efficiency, although that's not set in stone, either.

For more info, Pannekoek was a proponent of the council system
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Feb 25, 2012
Research has disproved the view, dominant since the 19th century, typical of biologist Thomas Henry Huxley's argument that morality is absent in nature and something created by humans, said de Waal.


If by morality you actually mean altruism, then the statement may be correct. If not, it's a logically empty to claim that you can get any morality from nature, because it would require you to assume that nature has an intention and a preference instead of just laws of physics. Nature is what it is, and what it will be, whereas morality is about what it should be, which can be only defined by an intelligent agent.

I.e. to argue that morality arises from nature is to beg the question that there exists a God. In the opposite case, morality must come from some other intelligent agent, and be subjective to that agent; for example - man.
Lurker2358
5 / 5 (2) Feb 25, 2012
If violence is only tribal, why so many domestic murders?

Why are something like 1/3rd of American's arrested at least once by their mid 20s for crime?

Why are so many relationships abusive?

Why so much incest, rape, and murder among one's own family members?

Why are the majority of crimes done by one's own family?

So the whole "our tribe vs theirs" excuse to explain evil doesn't cut it. People are more than evil enough among their own family and friends.

I guess this alleged study ignored such statistics that are well known and published.

No rational person would consider humans as "moral" by any standard, whether objective or subjective.
Lurker2358
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 25, 2012
Let's see:

Facts, since I know Ghost is gonna show up and harass me about it...

http://www.murder...tics.htm

In 1997, data based on incidents involving one victim and one offender show that 94 percent of the black murder victims were slain by black offenders, and 85 percent of white murder victims were killed by white offenders.


So much for the "tribe vs tribe" thing.

http://www.now.or...ats.html

In 2005, 1,181 women were murdered by an intimate partner.1 That's an average of three women every day. Of all the women murdered in the U.S., about one-third were killed by an intimate partner... ...According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, women experience about 4.8 million intimate partner-related physical assaults and rapes every year


Notice, "every year," not "in total".

continued...

Note to Ghost. This is called a post limit, which requires a seperate post and responsible for loss of train of thought
Lurker2358
3 / 5 (2) Feb 25, 2012
Nearly one-third of American women (31 percent) report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point


and we should quickly note, those are "reported" cases, not total.

http://www.aardva...cs.shtml

And so...

That whole "morality within the tribe but not among tribes" argument is refuted. Most of the violence is actually within one's own close relatives.

I could go on and do incest, child abuse, and rape, but you get the picture.

Nearly 1 in 3 American men has beaten his wife or girlfriend at least one time. Dirty bastards.

Of course, it's not as reported as much, but the reverse happens as well. They got stats on that too, and it usually involves a weapon when a woman abuses a man, or a poison when a woman kills a man.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (4) Feb 25, 2012
most marxists theorize

But they keep failing? Why don't they change their theory?
Skepticus
1.5 / 5 (2) Feb 26, 2012
New research on higher animals from primates and elephants to mice

Good for the mice. When they do a comprehensive research directly on humans, then I'll take note.
Altruism and morals are formulated, taught, learned and molded by social mores, out of the need to minimize the chaos and anarchy that will arise from humans' instinctual urges to get a leg over someone else's head for more food, more land, more money, more women, more power. This is co-operation by necessity, nothing to do with in-born higher ideals. History has demonstrated this times and again. Friends?, enemies? - they are meaningless. As long as the association is deemed advantageous in some measure, the association lasts.
It is more correct to say humans are naturally disingenuous, manipulative and exploitative. Throwing into this mix the atavistic lemmings-like urge to follow the lead of charismatic religious alpha-male-monkey's exhortations, and we arrive at the explosive existential mess we are in now.
Mayday
not rated yet Feb 26, 2012
One can arrange the stakes and adjust the reward-risk calculations to produce any variety of experimental social outcomes. I would suggest that the first error is in anthropomorphizing the minds of monkeys and rats. I suggest we embrace the system that best advances and rewards advances in technology, education and communication, while we discard the systems that assume that "the lowest common denominator" among us will be equipped to imagine the needs and justifiable risks involved to advance the state of their grandchildren's well-being.
Mayday
not rated yet Feb 26, 2012
This concept of wealth-hoarding puzzles me. In my experience, most wealthy individuals either spend it (very quickly) for their own and their kin's advancement and benefit, or they invest it in ventures of various risk. Both of these activities lie well opposite of the idea of hoarding. I'm having a difficult time imagining an activity that would be of more direct benefit to the society than creating wealth (yes, creating is exactly the right word) and then distributing it back into the society through a wide variety of voluntary exchange relationships that benefit both parties.
Calia0386
5 / 5 (1) Feb 26, 2012
"Until just 12 years ago, the common view among scientists was that humans were "nasty" at the core but had developed a veneer of morality"...for all those who may want to cut down L.Ron Hubbard, he is the one back in the 1950's, over 60 years ago that said man is basically good yet no one wants to quote him for anything, and though there has been some scandal surrounding him over the years, he needs some credit for saying we are basically good when everyone else would say otherwise.
baudrunner
not rated yet Feb 26, 2012
I agree with the author that an inherent code of human ethical conduct is innate to the normal human being. That being said, wickedness in humans is epressed when one is motivated by greed and power, and quite often an abberent chromosomal pattern in the male will have removed the empathic faculties from those who do express these detrimental attributes. The thing about XYY males is that they are very active, and tend to be movers and shakers. They can bring about wars and commit horrible crimes without remorse. Therein lies the obfuscation in a societal overview that opens the door to discussions of this type.

In case anyone wants to argue about this point with respect to the absence of empathic and logical reasoning faculties in the XY male, functional MRI studies have demonstrated a complete absence of pre-frontal cortical neural activity in these men. I rather think that one will find a high incidence of XY's among the very powerful. After all, we have wars.
baudrunner
not rated yet Feb 26, 2012
In case anyone wants to argue about this point with respect to the absence of empathic and logical reasoning faculties in the XY male, functional MRI studies have demonstrated a complete absence of pre-frontal cortical neural activity in these men. I rather think that one will find a high incidence of XY's among the very powerful. After all, we have wars.


sorry, have to qualify that, I meant XYY males. My bad.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (3) Feb 28, 2012
If violence is only tribal, why so many domestic murders?
Who said it was?
Why are something like 1/3rd of American's arrested at least once by their mid 20s for crime?
Without counter-researching I can confidently say that the majority of this is gang[tribe] and class[tribe]-related.
Why are so many relationships abusive?

Why so much incest, rape, and murder among one's own family members?
You are culturally myopic. Consider the many tribal, religion-based cultures around the world that condone violence against women and children (spare the rod, stone the harlot). Humans in general are prone to defect and abherration courtesy of these oversized, defect-prone brains of ours. Traditional tribal culture amy have evolved in part to minimize and control the effects of abherrent individuals through centralized authority and tribal law (morality).
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (3) Feb 28, 2012
Jared Diamond relates an interview with a young female in a primitive tribal culture, who talks about suitors fighting and killing each other in competition for her. Obviously the tribes which developed ways of minimizing the effects of this, would have members who could trust each other and cooperate more fully, and so would be more likely to prevail over those that could not.
No rational person would consider humans as "moral" by any standard, whether objective or subjective.
No rational person not under the spell of religionism would make that statement. Because it is a religionist lie.
94 percent of the black murder victims were slain by black offenders, and 85 percent of white murder victims were killed by white offenders
So much for the "tribe vs tribe" thing
Your bigotry is showing. As if all blacks were one 'tribe'. Crips kill bloods all the time. Bloods who kill bloods are subject to extreme punishment. This makes both crips and bloods formidable tribes indeed.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (3) Feb 28, 2012
Dont worry, part of the problem with tribalism is that the concept includes a biological reason for bigotry and crime against outsiders. In the context of the tribal dynamic your bigotry toward outsiders is understandable. Your religion, and all religions, are based upon, and reinforce, our natural tribal tendencies.

But there is so much that is natural about the human animal which is nevertheless totally unacceptable in modern society. Any institutions which encourage these tendencies such as bigotry and reproductive rates approaching our tropical limits, are also anathema to modern society.

Such as any and all religionist institutions; which are DESIGNED to outgrow the other religions (tribes) and overrun them. Their utility in establishing order through extending the tribal dynamic over ever larger groups is long since past. We can now consider all of humanity as one tribe with internal altruism and trust, and animosity toward none. No religion will ever be comfortable with this.
leDendrite
2 / 5 (1) Mar 02, 2012
Peter Kropotkin's view was that cooperation, not competition was the governing principle of natural selection. I think it's easy to see countless examples of this in nature. It seems to me that cooperation is what governs symbiosis and biodiversity. The competition is only a generalization of the opportunity to have a place in said symbiosis, but what make a species successful, or the fittest is it's ability to cooperate within the environment.