Anti-Cooperation Mechanisms

A mechanism which subverts the inclinations among humans to cooperate with each other and usurps or weakens the bonds and relationships between human beings.

Every organism and species on the planet depends on cooperation with other species or members of its own species for its survival—and evolved accordingly. Human beings are no exception. Human beings cooperate other of its own species for food, safety, reproductive success, child rearing and so on. It also cooperates with other species (domesticated animals) and organisms (the bacteria on its skin, in its digestive system). However, human cultures developed mechanisms that undermine the cooperative instincts and abilities and facilitate anti-social behavior.

Companies. These constructs are inherently antagonistic to the interests of others by making the interests of the owners of the company different than the interests of the group and by excluding those owners from group obligations. (For millions of years different homo species, including sapiens, functioned as groups with its members all serving the interests of the group.)

Currency and financial systems. These inventions subverted the bonds between human beings and the role of an individual within a group by making commerce and markets the way in which human being define themselves and organize their efforts. A human being was previously defined by their role within a group and by their relationships within that group. Now those relationships (and the obligations between individuals that grow out of those relationships) are subordinated or even destroyed by the relationships (and obligations that grow out of this relationship) imposed on individual by those with no obligations to the group or concern for the group. In the past an individual’s group helped to provide his or her food, shelter and security—from those with which they had intimate contact and histories. Now markets serve this function and the relationship is transactional instead of relational, intimate or cooperative.

Myths. Myths can foster cooperation but there are also myths that attack the idea of cooperation and as result dislodge an individual from his or her history and from the ethics that fostered cooperation. Individualism and rags to riches stories are two such narratives designed to compliment the structures that destroy the cooperative instincts of human beings.