HUMAN NATURE IS NOT PLAIN SELFISHNESS
George Monbiot posts on HERE
“We’re Not as Selfish as Economists Think We Are. Here’s the Proof.
Do you find yourself thrashing against the tide of human indifference and selfishness? Are you oppressed by the sense that while you care, others don’t? That, because of humankind’s callousness, civilisation and the rest of life on Earth are basically stuffed? If so, you are not alone. But neither are you right.
A study by the Common Cause Foundation, due to be published next month, reveals two transformative findings. The first is that a large majority of the 1,000 people they surveyed – 74% – identifies more strongly with unselfish values than with selfish values. This means that they are more interested in helpfulness, honesty, forgiveness and justice than in money, fame, status and power. The second is that a similar majority – 78% – believes others to be more selfish than they really are. In other words, we have made a terrible mistake about other people’s minds.”
Whatever happened to trust?
The revelation that humanity’s dominant characteristic is, er, humanity will come as no surprise to those who have followed recent developments in behavioural and social sciences. People, these findings suggest, are basically and inherently nice.
Monbiot's article is worth reading. It addresses an issue commonly discussed among economists - though I am not sure that the consensus gets it quite right, amidst the general confusion about "invisible hands" and all that.
As part of my recovery programme I walk each day, pushing a walker' trolly. Unfortunately, I also tend to fall over in the street. Without fail, on the last three occasions when I have fallen, complete strangers quickly appear and help me to get up and see that I am alright and can continue home. On no occasion have passers by crossed over and ignored my plight. It must count for something that this is the case in my experience.