Re: poly: Egan's Diaspora

From: Peter C. McCluskey <>
Date: Sun Mar 22 1998 - 07:40:08 PST (Robin Hanson) writes:
>>Although both positions seem almost ridiculously cautious by our
>>standards, this is a natural projection of our own cultural evolution
>>from the rapacious colonial period into our present state of cultural
>I'm not convinced we are actually very culturally sensitivity now.
>When it's cheap, we do a few things. But when big bucks are on the line,
>we're nearly as rapacious as ever.

 Matt Ridley, in the chapter "Ecology as Religion" in _The Origins of
Virtue_, does a good job of describing the persistent discrepency
between the standards people claim to follow towards the commons and
their actual behavior. People benefit from persuading others to leave
the commons unravaged, and gain in reputation from appearing to act
altruistically, but continue to act selfishly.
 We have, of course, become more sensitive towards human cultures
previously considered inferior, who have now attained enough power to
defend their claims to equality. It isn't obvious whether that change
was due to a general increase in sensitivity or to technological
changes which increased the costs of subjugating them.

Peter McCluskey  |  | Has anyone used           | to comment on your web pages?
Received on Sun Mar 22 15:40:32 1998

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