On Thu, Jul 19, 2012 at 5:19 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote: > On 7/19/2012 1:43 AM, R AM wrote: >> >> free markets produce the types of social systems that best enable >> people to interact in a way that puts them on the oxytocin-empathy? >> Really???? I thought it was each one on its own. > > > I think that's the interesting point: those two are not contrary.
I think friendship may release oxytocin, but free-markets relations won't. In any case, that's something that can be found out empirically, I guess. > Brent > > >> >> On Thu, Jul 19, 2012 at 6:47 AM, meekerdb<meeke...@verizon.net> wrote: >>> >>> This may be of interest to those recently discussing free-riders. >>> >>> Brent >>> >>> -------- Original Message -------- >>> >>> Unto Others >>> >>> BY MICHAEL SHERMER >>> >>> It is the oldest and most universally recognized moral principle that was >>> codified over two millennia ago by the Jewish sage Hillel the Elder: >>> “Whatsoever thou wouldst that men should not do to thee, do not do that >>> to >>> them. This is the whole Law. The rest is only explanation.” That >>> explanation >>> has been the subject of intense theological and philosophical disputation >>> for millennia, and recently scientists are weighing in with naturalistic >>> accounts of morality, such as the two books under review here. >>> >>> Paul J. Zak is an economist and pioneer in the new science of >>> neuroeconomics who built his reputation on research that identified the >>> hormone oxytocin as a biological proxy for trust. As Zak documents, >>> countries whose citizens trust one another have higher average GDPs, and >>> trust is built through mutually-beneficial exchanges that result in >>> higher >>> levels of oxytocin as measured in blood draws of subjects in economic >>> exchange games as well as real-world in situ encounters. The Moral >>> Molecule >>> is an engaging and enlightening popular account of Zak’s decade of >>> intense >>> research into how this molecule evolved for one purpose—pair bonding and >>> attachment in social mammals—and was co-opted for trust between >>> strangers. >>> The problem to be solved here is why strangers would be nice to one >>> another. Evolutionary “selfish gene” theory well accounts for why we >>> would >>> be nice to our kin and kind—they share our genes so being altruistic and >>> moral has an evolutionary payoff in our genes being indirectly propagated >>> into future generations. The theory of kin selection explains how this >>> works, and the theory of reciprocal altruism—I’ll scratch your back if >>> you’ll scratch mine—goes a long way toward explaining why unrelated >>> people >>> in a social group would be kind to one another: my generosity to you >>> today >>> when my fortunes are sound will pay off down the road when life is good >>> to >>> you and my luck has run out. What Zak has so brilliantly done is to >>> identify >>> the precise biological pathways that explain the mechanics of how this >>> system evolved and operates today. >>> Order the hardcover from Amazon >>> Order the Kindle Edition >>> The Moral Molecule is loaded with first-person accounts of how Zak got >>> his >>> data, starting with a wedding he attended in the English countryside to >>> draw >>> the blood and measure the oxytocin levels of the bride, groom, and >>> accompanying parents before and after the vows. The half-life of oxytocin >>> is >>> measured in minutes, so Zak had to draw 24 blood samples in under ten >>> minutes that then had to be frozen and shipped back to his lab for >>> analysis, >>> the results of which “could be mapped out like the solar system, with the >>> bride as the sun,” he vividly recalls. The bride’s oxytocin level shot up >>> by >>> 28 percent after vows were spoken, “and for each of the other people >>> tested, >>> the increase in oxytocin was in direct proportion to the likely intensity >>> of >>> emotional engagement in the event.” Bride’s mother: up 24 percent. >>> Groom’s >>> father: up 19 percent. The groom: up only 13 percent. Why? It turns out >>> that >>> testosterone interferes with the release of oxytocin, and Zak measured a >>> 100 >>> percent increase in the groom’s testosterone level after his vows were >>> pronounced! How far will Zak go to get his data? In the western highlands >>> of >>> Papua New Guinea he set up a make-shift lab to draw the blood from tribal >>> warriors before and after they performed a ritual dance, discovering that >>> the “band of brothers” phenomena has a molecular basis in oxytocin. >>> The Moral Molecule aims to explain “the source of love and prosperity,” >>> which Zak identifies in a causal chain from oxytocin to empathy to >>> morality >>> to trust to prosperity. Numerous experiments he has conducted in this lab >>> that are detailed in the book demonstrate that subjects who are >>> cooperative >>> and generous in a trust game have higher levels of oxytocin, and infusing >>> subjects with oxytocin through a nose spray causes their generosity and >>> cooperativeness to increase. Zak concludes his book with a thoughtful >>> discussion of how liberal democracies and free markets produce the types >>> of >>> social systems that best enable people to interact in a way that puts >>> them >>> on the oxytocin-empathy-morality-trust-prosperity positive feedback loop. >>> Every corporate CEO and congressman should read this book before making >>> important decisions. >>> In Moral Origins: The Evolution of Virtue, Altruism, and Shame the USC >>> evolutionary anthropologist Christopher Boehm tackles head-on the >>> “free-rider” problem in explaining the origins of morality. Kin selection >>> and reciprocal altruism only go so far in explaining why we would have >>> evolved the propensity to be nice to our fellow group members, because >>> big >>> bullies and Machiavellian manipulators could easily take advantage of >>> naively engendered trust. Before long, free-riders operating on the >>> goodwill >>> of other groups members would gain an evolutionary reproductive advantage >>> and swamp the gene pool with psychopaths lacking any pretense of real >>> morality and thereby reduce humanity to an inhumane Lord of the Flies. >>> But >>> that did not happen and Boehm explains why: we evolved the social >>> technology >>> of shaming and shunning free riders who violated social norms, along with >>> the desire to punish those who attempted to unfairly gain an upper hand >>> against naïve group members or those who could be exploited by powerful >>> alpha-male bullies. This explains why we not only practice but often even >>> enjoy “moralistic punishment” against those who cheated or bullied us. >>> It’s >>> a powerful emotion based in evolutionary logic that I felt the full >>> visceral >>> effect of during the revenge scene from the film The Girl with the Dragon >>> Tattoo that followed the pornographically brutal rape scene of the >>> central >>> character Lisbeth Salander. There’s a deep emotional satisfaction that >>> comes >>> from seeing a bully get his comeuppance. It’s an evolved moral emotion >>> necessary to deal with the realities of a social life that includes >>> bullies >>> and cheaters. >>> Order the hardcover from Amazon >>> Order the Kindle Edition >>> Boehm’s data comes from his direct observations of primate groups and >>> indigenous populations over many decades, which he extrapolates back into >>> our Paleolithic past of hunter-gatherers on the plains of Africa. Hunting >>> wild game is a dangerous enterprise for a puny bipedal primate, so >>> collaborative hunting through social bonding evolved. The free-rider >>> problem >>> of individuals shirking their responsibilities, laying back during risky >>> moments, or taking more than their fair share of the hunt, were >>> vigorously >>> punished through shame and shunning, and even expulsion and capital >>> punishment. Knowing that there are consequences to cheating the system, >>> humans evolved a moral emotion of guilt and shame that enabled our >>> ancestors >>> to learn to control their impulses to do the wrong thing and to be >>> reinforced for and feel good about doing the right thing. >>> Boehm estimates that this system evolved over the last 50,000 years as >>> human groups became vigilantly egalitarian, and yet our psychology >>> contains >>> much older selfish moral emotions that are often in conflict with these >>> newer sentiments. This goes a long way toward explaining why we often >>> feel >>> selfish and strongly desire to first take care of ourselves and our kin, >>> while also feeling tribal and bonded with our fellow group members, >>> especially when we are collectively threatened by other tribes. As Boehm >>> notes in a moving epilogue reflection on humanity’s moral future, “people >>> in >>> a band are basically economic equals, whereas our world of nations is >>> very >>> far from being egalitarian in this way. This economic inequality can be >>> seen >>> as a special engine that helps to drive international conflict, and it >>> stands in the way of creating a more effective international order.” We >>> can’t go back, but we can go forward armed with the knowledge that >>> deep-thinking scientists such as Christopher Boehm provide in such >>> important >>> contributions to humanity’s prospects as Moral Origins. >>> >>> >>> >>> --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- >>> >>> >>> "We have geared the machines and locked all together into >>> interdependence; >>> we have built the great cities; now there is no escape. We have gathered >>> vast populations incapable of free survival, insulated From the strong >>> earth, each person in himself helpless, on all dependent. The circle is >>> closed, and the net Is being hauled in." >>> >>> ~ From The Purse Seine, Robinson Jeffers, 1937 >>> >>> >>> >>> >>> >>> >>> >>> >>> -- >>> You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups >>> "Everything List" group. >>> To post to this group, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. >>> To unsubscribe from this group, send email to >>> everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com. >>> For more options, visit this group at >>> http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en. > > > -- > You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups > "Everything List" group. > To post to this group, send email to email@example.com. > To unsubscribe from this group, send email to > everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com. > For more options, visit this group at > http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en. > -- You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. 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