Why teams?

Posted by jlubans on June 10, 2011

Why hierarchy? could be just as effective a lead-in title. Well, the Darwinists have something to say. (When don't they?) Their unruffled sea of "settled science" is now roiled up. The tempest is about recent comments from biologist, Edward O. Wilson as summed up in the April 21st Boston Globe. Mr. Wilson claims that:
The key (to goodness) is the group: Under certain circumstances, groups of cooperators can out-compete groups of non-cooperators, thereby ensuring that their genes including the ones that predispose them to cooperation are handed down to future generations. This so-called group selection, Wilson insists, is what forms the evolutionary basis for a variety of advanced social behaviors linked to altruism, teamwork, and tribalism.... (emphasis added.)

So, here we have a biological hypothesis about why we enjoy teamwork, and of course, why we may NOT enjoy teamwork.
I assume non-cooperators - there must be significant numbers - do not like teams because they do not want to cooperate or collaborate to survive. Whatever rationale given for why teams fail, it is interesting to have a biological suggestion. Some people really do NOT want a team to succeed while some people REALLY DO.

Of course, Adam Smith had something to say in 1759, about our instinctual wanting to help others:

How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it, except the pleasure of seeing it.

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