Cooperation

 


 

[1840]  Alexis de Tocqueville,  De la Démocratie en Amérique, vol. II, Flammarion, Paris, 1981

-  "L'intérêt bien entendue est une doctrine peu haute, mais claire et sûre."
"La doctrine de l'intérêt bien entendue ne produit pas des dévouements; mais elle suggère chaque jour des petits sacrifices; à elle seule, elle ne saurait faire un homme vertueux; mais elle forme une multitude de citoyens réglés, tempérants, modérés, prévoyants, maîtres d'eux-mêmes; et, si elle ne conduit pas directement à la vertu par la volonté, elle en rapproche insensiblement par les habitudes." (p. 155)

 

[1906]  Piotr Kropotkin,  The Conquest of Bread, Elephant Editions, London, 1990

-  "We can already catch glimpses of a world in which the bonds which bind the individual are no longer laws, but social habits - the result of the need felt by each one of us to seek the support, the cooperation, the sympathy of his neighbours." (p. 51)

-  "Accustomed as we are by hereditary prejudices and our unsound education and training to represent ourselves the beneficial hand of Government, legislation and magistracy everywhere, we have come to believe that man would tear his fellow-man to pieces like a wild beast the day that police took his eye off him; that absolute chaos would come about if authority were overthrown during a revolution. And with our eyes shut we pass by thousands and thousands of human groupings which form themselves freely, without any intervention of the law, and attain results infinitely superior to those achieved under governmental tutelage." (p. 129)

-  "Railways were constructed piece by piece, the pieces were joined together, and the hundred different companies, to whom these pieces belonged, gradually came to an understanding concerning the arrival and departure of their trains, and the running of carriages on their rails, from all countries, without unloading merchandise as it passes from one network to another. All this was done by free agreement, by exchange of letters and proposals, and by congresses at which delegates met to discuss well specified special points, and to come to an agreement about them,  but not to make laws. After  the congress was over, the delegates returned to their respective companies, not with a law, but with the draft of a contract to be accepted or rejected." "And the most interesting thing in this organization is, that there is no European Central Government of Railways! Nothing! No minister of railways, no dictator, not even a continental parliament, not even a directing committee! Everything is done by free agreement." (pp. 131-132)

 

[1984]  Robert Axelrod,  The Evolution of Co-operation, Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1990

-  "What makes it possible for cooperation to emerge is the fact that the players might meet again. This possibility means that the choices made today not only determine the outcome of this move, but can also influence the later choices of the players. The future can therefore cast a shadow back upon the present and thereby affect the current strategic situation." (p. 12)

-  "... no form of cooperation is stable when the future is not important enough relative to the present." (p. 129)

-  "A community using strategies based upon reciprocity can actually police itself. By guaranteeing the punishment of any individual who tries to be less than cooperative, the deviant strategy is made unprofitable. Therefore the deviant will not thrive and will not provide an attractive model for others to imitate." "Naturally, you want to teach reciprocity to those with whom you will interact so that you can build a mutually rewarding relationship. But you also have a private advantage from another person using reciprocity even if you never interact with that person : the other's reciprocity helps to police the entire community by punishing those who try to be exploitative. And this decreases the number of uncooperative individuals you will have to deal with in the future." (pp. 138-139)

-  " ... cooperation can get started by even a small cluster of individuals who are prepared to reciprocate cooperation, even in a world where no one else will cooperate. The analysis also shows that two keys requisites for cooperation to thrive are that cooperation be based on reciprocity, and that the shadow of the future is important enough to make this reciprocity stable. But once cooperation based on reciprocity is established in a population, it can protect itself from invasion by uncooperative strategies." (p. 173)

-  "The emergence, growth and maintenance of cooperation do require some assumption about the individuals and the social setting. They require an individual to be able to recognize another player who has been dealt with before. They also require that one's prior history of interaction with this player can be remembered, so that a player can be responsive."
-  "For cooperation to prove stable, the future must have a sufficiently large shadow." "It requires that the players have a large enough chance of meeting again and that they do not discount the significance of their next meeting too greatly."
-  "In order for cooperation to get started in the first place, one more condition is required. The problem is that in a world of unconditional defection, a single individual who offers cooperation cannot prosper unless others are around who will reciprocate. On the other hand, cooperation can emerge from small clusters of discriminating individuals as long as these individuals have even a small proportion of their interactions with each other. So there must be some clustering of individuals who use strategies with two properties : the strategies will be the first to cooperate, and they will discriminate between those who respond to cooperation and those who do not." (pp. 174-175)

 

[1996]  Matt Ridley,  The Origins of Virtue, Softback Preview, England, 1997

-  "Cooperative groups thrive and selfish ones do not, so cooperative societies have survived at the expense of others." (p. 175)
 

[1999]  Martin van Creveld,  The Rise and Decline of the State, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1999

-  The foundation of the International Telegraph Union "which took place in 1865 marked the first time when states created an organization in which they themselves were members but which at the same time had a legal person of its own as well as a permanent staff and a permanent headquarters at which it could be reached." "... in 1932 the organization was transformed into the International Telecommunication Union." (p. 382)

-  "Serving as a model for others to come, the ITU was followed by the International Postal Union (1874) and the International Bureau of Weights and Standards (1875)." (pp. 382-383)
-  "By 1984 the number of intergovernmental organizations, which had stood at 123 in 1951 and 280 in 1972, reached 395." (p. 383)