A Darwinian Left: Politics, Evolution, and Cooperation by Peter Singer PDF

By Peter Singer

In A Darwinian Left, Peter Singer argues that the political left has misunderstood Darwinian principles and therefore been opposed to the appliance of Darwinian pondering to politics. these at the political left who search a extra egalitarian society may still as an alternative embody evolutionary rules and easy methods to use evolutionary considering which will construct the type of cooperative society sought.

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Extra info for A Darwinian Left: Politics, Evolution, and Cooperation

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This conception of communist society is as firmly Utopian as the blueprints for a future society drawn up by Saint-Simon, Fourier or any of the other 'utopian' socialists whose ideas Marx and Engels scorned. Marx wrote that passage as a young man, and some would say that he changed his idea of communism; but, although his terminology became less Hegelian, there is nothing in his later writings to suggest that he abandoned his youthful vision of the future society and much to indicate that he did not.

It can, instead, appeal to the widespread need to feel wanted, or useful, or to belong to a community - all things that are more likely to come from cooperating with others than from competing with them. Modern Darwinian thought embraces both competition and reciprocal altruism, which is really a more technical term for cooperation. Focusing largely on the competitive element, modern market economies are premised on the idea that we are all dominated by acquisitive and competitive desires. These economies are continuing to design their structures to channel our acquisitive and competitive desires so that they work for 42 the good of all.

The easier it is for cheats to 51 make a living, the more of them there are likely to be. A pre-Darwinian left would blame the existence of cheats on poverty, or a lack of education, or the legacy of reactionary capitalist ways of thinking. A Darwinian left will realise that while all of these factors may make a difference to the level of cheating, the only permanent solution is to change the pay-offs so that cheats do not prosper. This means not turning the other cheek. We need to think about how to set up the conditions in which cooperation thrives.

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