Mutual aid;: A factor of evolution, (Pelican books. [A49])
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Kropotkin brushes it all aside by seeing the Darwinian focus of war against all as being a British phenomena connected to the limited land mass and how people interact with each other. Instead he ranges across his own homeland Russia and thinks about the empty spaces. Within Russia the ideas of Malthus do not hold because the place is void. Then he returns back to animals and asks questions about their herd instinct as Nietszche would call it - and he comes up with a different view. It is not the herd but mutual co-operation which animals seek. And this differs from humans who gang together in Western Societies to pull people down. In so called "savage" societies those perceived by anthropologists before they were all bull dozed away - primitive communism was the norm. People shared their food, shelter and goods to make everyone happy. Kropotkin states it is the tribe who are the focus, an inter group revelry which stretches beyond the family. Inter connection is based on mutual support.
He also looks at the ancients and the medieval guilds to bring further evidence to bear. All of this ideas make sense because within a body, the organs act within harmony, a basic concept put forward by Durkheim. The selfish gene does not exist, because each has to interact with the other.Read more ›
Examples given of mutual aid include packs of dogs working together to catch prey and looking after their wounded, parrots living together in groups and searching for food while others act as lookouts.
Some examples of avoiding competition such as in the winter animals hibernate or fly to warmer areas rather than fight with each other over what little food is around.
After talking about mutual aid among animals it goes on to talk about mutual aid in various human societies. Starting with tribes such as the Bushmen "they used to hunt in common, and divided the spoil without quarrelling; that they never abandoned their wounded, and displayed strong affection to their comrades."
"Eskimo life is based upon communism. What is obtained by hunting and fishing belongs to the clan. But in several tribes, especially in the West, under the influence of the Danes, private property penetrates into their institutions. However, they have an original means for obviating the inconveniences arising from a personal accumulation of wealth which would soon destroy their tribal unity. When a man has grown rich, he convokes the folk of his clan to a great festival, and, after much eating, distributes among them all his fortune."
With Aborigines the hunting land is communal as is the proceeds from hunting.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
this book is an odd but convincing mixture of biology, philosophy and political theory.Published 10 months ago by Matthew Thomas
In this book, Peter Kropotkin sets out to demonstrate the importance of cooperation (“mutual aid”) within species and within human societies. Read morePublished 11 months ago by John H
Fantastic book, interesting theories that helped me with anarchy course. Lots of stuff on a different type of evolution. Not survival of the fittest but mutually help each other.Published on 27 Mar. 2014 by Cyril Slater