It's cooperation, stupid
The argument of this pamphlet is that we should jettison the assumption that humans are selfish, first and foremost. Instead, we should start from the assumption that most of the time, most people want to be cooperative.
We should also assume that the most enduring, productive, adaptive solutions to our shared dilemmas will also be the fairest, because fairness breeds cooperation. Only when cooperative approaches manifestly fail should we turn to solutions that hinge on self-interest.
Drawing in evidence from infant development studies, evolutionary science and the course of human history from the prehistoric to the modern, Charlie Leadbeater argues that society – including our political leaders – can and should embrace and foster humankind's integral cooperative spirit and redress the individualistic, transactional model of modern capitalism.
'Humans are more cooperative than other species because we are capable of more fine-grained forms of cooperation: we are prepared to cooperate with strangers, over large distances and times, overcoming obstacles of language and culture. This deeply wired capacity for cooperation will be more important than ever to enable us to create shared solutions to complex challenges, from global financial regulation to ageing and climate change.
'Yet most of our systems, institutions and models of public policy lock us in to a miserable, impoverished view of ourselves as untrustworthy and selfish. These approaches actively crowd out cooperation, supplanting cooperative solutions with systems that rely on material incentives. They remake the world in their own image.'
Looking at three issues as examples – bankers and their bonuses, the UK riots of 2011 and the ongoing immigration debate – Leadbeater concludes that cooperative models of organisation and problem-solving offer the best hope of deepening understanding and producing fair and good outcomes.
Published in partnership with Co-operatives UK
Charles Leadbeater, Policy Advisory Council and New Era Economics panel
Author(s) : Charles Leadbeater - 07 Mar 2012
You may be interested in...
IPPR in the news
Universal childcare for 3-4 year olds
The Independent - 12 Dec 2013Many have lost faith in the benefits system
The Telegraph - 12 Dec 2013Free childcare could boost economy by £1.5bn
BBC News Online - 12 Dec 2013We need tech-powered public services
Health Service Journal - 12 Dec 2013
State must catch up with modern family dynamics
The Guardian - 11 Dec 2013Place children and elderly at centre stage
The Telegraph - 11 Dec 2013Age of scandal a danger for democracy
Yorkshire Post - 11 Dec 2013We need a strong regional skills policy
The Times (£) - 10 Dec 2013
Science to drive a new British economy
Times Higher Education - 10 Dec 2013Public infrastructure investment just £5 per head in the North East
The Journal - 10 Dec 2013Transport infrastructure spend just £245 per head in the North
The Independent on Sunday - 09 Dec 2013Decentralise housing and transport powers
New Statesman - 09 Dec 2013
North South infrastructure plan divide
The Independent - 06 Dec 2013Tax relief for childcare won't make it cheaper
The Telegraph - 06 Dec 2013We need a green economy
BBC News - 06 Dec 2013Retrain people in their 50s and 60s
The Financial Times (£) - 05 Dec 2013
Transport infrastructure spending far higher in London
The Spectator - 05 Dec 2013Universities should pay a living wage
Times Higher Education - 05 Dec 2013Tax free childcare will not cut childcare costs
Nursery World - 05 Dec 2013Parents thousands of pounds worse of with Govt's tax relief plan
The Telegraph - 04 Dec 2013