Molina et al. composed an anthropological view of the relationship between competition and cooperation among three categories of society and human behaviour; ‘Hunter Gatherers’, ‘Tribes’, and ‘Peasants’ and used these different categories of past tribal societies to show redolence of human behaviour today. In their introduction they articulate the goal of the article while emphasizing the effort and contributions of social anthropology to the topic, perhaps adding value to it. They open the article by posing the question, “Why do humans cooperate so extensively?”, an engaging prompt right off the bat – and they likely succeeded as its not clear if that assertion is exactly true to everybody, do humans truly cooperate to a large extent, or do we just compete and cooperate by default? Furthermore, in the introduction of the article, Molina et al. identifies three primary mechanisms for the evolution of cooperation: kin selection, reciprocity, and group selection, where they ultimately define these terms
The body of the article is divided into the three parts; Hunter Gatherers, Tribes, and Peasants where the concepts of kin selection, reciprocity, and group selection are experimented with to carry the articles prompt and rhetoric. The general theme that was carried out throughout the body was that cooperation and competition have a mutual relationship and have complimented each other through out human history. Molina et al. use examples and situations such as the Prisoner’s Dilemma implying that human societies use practices to solidify and maintain reciprocity. Molina et al. takes a rather optimistic, “we need each other to prosper”- type stance, but as @silaslm noted, authors such as Bateson and Hutcheon have taken up quite the contrast with their view of competition among human societies. The question posed, “Why do humans cooperate so extensively?”, is not objective to everybody, but it does a good job in asking for the readers consent to engage in their rhetoric and essentially hear them out. They didn’t ask “Do human cooperate extensively”, but rather “Why?”, perhaps an attempt of coercion.
Given the information and supporting evidence, Molina et al. shows that human societies exemplify and embody these tendencies of cooperation and ultimately competition in a productive manner in the global human community, in fact human community is to be built on it. Molina et al. gives us a nuanced understanding of competition in the categories of past human societies, Hunter-gatherers, tribes, and peasants. The social anthropologists of this article did a good job in articulating their ideas and attaching supporting evidence. Cooperation is showed through the article to be a a large factor in human society’s productivity and ultimately that both cooperation and competition must and have coexisted productively. Molina et al. completes the article with a subtle admittance that there may be more to study, “we suggest that future modelling might explore in more detail the coexistence of cooperations and competition”.
#WRDS150 #11M #Anthropology