Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Altruism and Economics

After a nice discussion with friends about altruism, I stumbled on this interesting Herbert Simon 6-pages text named Altruism and Economics. Here's an extract:
"In evolutionary theory, altruism means behavior that reduces the actor's fitness while enhancing the fitness of others. If the total contribution of the altruist to the fitness of others is greater than the fitness lost by the altruist, altruism will increase the prospects of the group's surviving in competition with other groups."

The text underlines the benefits of altruism and related behavior to the economy. Amongst the elements of the discussion: do you consider yourself an altruist? Why be an altruist? Is it something we choose to be or simply are? Where lies the threshold of being too much altruistic? To which extent does altruism help us as a society?
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