The most confused, muddled article I've ever read that tries to profile HelenaCronin and talk about EvolutionaryPsychology, altruism (the PrisonersDilemma), SexualSelection, GiftEconomies etc. and their relation to business. If you don't understand these things now, I guarantee you still won't after you read this article.

The applications to business are cringeworthy, and how they relate the sidebar of "how altruistic are you" to anything in the main text is beyond me?

Nevertheless, if you aren't going to be totally bamboozled, there are quite a few fragments of interest and cool things.

  • Interesting point about not romanticizing competition. Compare with the "myths of creativity" linked on OnCreativity.
  • "Once you understand that we are evolved animals, then everything has to be Darwinian," says Cronin. "That economics could treat us as pure, rational 'choice entities' is sadly mistaken. And what exactly drives Darwinian thinking except a model of genes as rational economic agents?

** well, I think the point (not having read the article!) is that certain behaviors have been ingrained through millenia of evolution, so they may not be "rational" in terms of evaluating the current situation. (Kinda like people tend to like fatty junky food which made sense when there wasn't much food available, but is counter-productive now.) –BillSeitz

** yep. I was being a bit unfair. I still think it's a pretty confused article (read it and you'll see); but it is possibly a valid corrective to some people's (mis)understanding of Darwinism. Also it just occured to me that the US is a country which looks on the verge of putting creationism on an equal footing with evolutionary theory in schools. How do you find the general understanding of evolution around you? (though NewYork is probably not representative) – PhilJones

** the only thing worse than reading FastCompany is reading FastCompany archives from the BubbleAge. :) I can't believe that article doesn't touch on the PositiveSum GameTheory perspective... – BZ

*** it does : The other source is reciprocal altruism – tit for tat at its most crude level. "If you're playing over a long period, it's worthwhile to keep cooperation going," says Cronin. (Yeah, I understand this is hardly a deep exposition. My guess is Cronin understands it perfectly well but didn't think she needed / had the time to explain; or she did explain and the reporter cut it out. (PrisonersDilemma) – PJ

** Libertarians understand EvolutIon, and nobody else does. :) – BZ

*** ;-P (Seriously, the problem with Libertarians is that they don't think enough about UnitsOfSelection : ) http://www.bbsonline.org/documents/a/00/00/04/60/ )

** Actually, I don't think any "civilians" understand Evolution, nor Relativity, if your standard of "understanding" is "be able to spend 20 minutes explaining it to others". We all delegate lots of our thinking/understanding to others. It's just that some of us delegate to a self-correcting/improving process of description, and others delegate to guys with big hair. We're not a country putting creationism on equal footing, just a country that includes some states that will do so. –BillSeitz

*** Good point. There isn't a simple binary understand / not-understand. My understanding is fine, right up to the point I have to sit down and read an equation or do any reasoning using the maths. At which point I go to pieces. – PhilJones