Our Chimpish Economic Past, Alive and Well
It occurs to me that most of the actions and behaviors which currently lead to negative consequences on the whole of humanity and the environment (and, thus, also on the individual or group of individuals who lives within the pan-human society and the environment) stem from primitive hold overs in our evolutionary past that used to ensure self and group survival. Back in the day, resources were hoarded and guarded from outside groups, very much like chimps and other apes protect and guard resource rich areas of the world.
In our “civilized” world, where we have learned to, more or less, cooperate with each other for mutual benefits under the division of labor and larger social groups (ie, nations, societies and cultural groups), resources are, in theory, able to easily flow from one person or group to another without having any one of the two or more parties injured as a result of sharing. This sharing is actually fundamental to our current economic system and all the material benefits we have realized from it. Labor is exchanged in such a way for money and other forms of compensation, such that we specialize in what we’re doing, thus ensuring that we’re all tangibly interdependent on one another for our own individual well being and success. The CEO of a fast food company can’t survive, hold position, or be well without the workers flipping burgers at his/her restaurant. Workers, likewise, cannot function as effectively without someone or some group of ones overseeing and guiding the whole of the organization through top down policies that match with bottom up realities in terms of organizational, social and economic physics and composition. In fact, it’s better to not think of these things in terms of hierarchies, because they’re all needed in order to produce a viable company, organization, and/or social unit. There is no real top or bottom in terms of significance to the company, except in terms of talent and competence to fulfilling that organizational role.
Therefore, what we’ve got in our modern era are a few groups of mostly chimpish individuals hoarding over the select few resources of organizational position and relative authority. They use those positions to indulge themselves materially while shutting out the rest of the social organization that yields those positions and those resource pools in the first place. In other words, greed, as defined by one having more than they can spend or use in a lifetime while not recognizing when one has had enough, is an anti-social evolutionary hold over from our ape past. It is both inhibitive of real economic growth, despite of the artificially large profits that it yields and, in the grand scheme of things, unhealthy and self destructive for the individuals who are afflicted with these more primitive brain types.
Having diversity is a good thing for the species overall. However, I also think it’s important to recognize when and if some of our unique individual behavior is getting in the way of the individual’s overall well being, as well as our society’s and our environment’s overall well being as well. A danger to themselves and a danger to others, as current medical vocabulary would put it.
Think about it.
Thus, we can understand many of our current economic woes and misunderstandings as being rooted in our ape past. It starts with anti-social competition over resources, which then turns into anti-social hoarding of resources through the occupation of relative positions in our social society.
It’s both unhealthy for ourselves individually and counter-productive to solid economic and social function In the first place.
Think about it.