Skip to main content

Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

Survival of the nicest: have we got evolution the wrong way round?

Even eighteenth-century piracy, says Silvertown, is a good example of effective cooperation. Pirates worked together on their ships, and used violence more often against outsiders than as an internal mechanism for law enforcement.

The author argues against the idea that cooperation is fundamentally at odds with competition — a view that emerged as a consequence of the sociobiology movement of the 1970s, in which some biologists argued that all human behaviour is reducible to a Darwinian need to be the ‘fittest’. The reality, as Silvertown shows, is not black and white.


Selfish Genes to Social Beings is at its best in the long, fascinating discussions of the complexity of cooperative behaviours across the natural world. For instance, although I’ve read a lot about biology, before reading this book I could never understand how RNA chains might have joined together and started the process of self-replication through which all life evolved. Silvertown can talk as easily about the compounds making up your genes as most people can about yesterday’s football match.

Read the rest at Nature


Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
CAPTCHA This question is to verify that you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam.

What does the G in GEO stand for?