Darwinian Politics: The Evolutionary Origin of Freedom

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Rutgers University Press, 2002 - Philosophy - 223 pages
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"In this lively and insightful book, Paul Rubin shows just how much light can be shed on the institutions of modern life by reference to our long species' history as hunter-gatherers. This is highly recommended reading."-Herbert Gintis, author of Game Theory Evolving "Full of insights and interesting connections among biology, public policy, and economics. It keeps the reader's interest and is well paced. Simply great-I enjoyed every minute of it."-Michael T. McGuire, coauthor of Darwinian Psychiatry "A lucid, responsible, thought-provoking, constructive inquiry into the biological foundations of economic behavior."-Richard Posner, judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit "This is a great book, and more than worthy of serious attention. . . . An interesting and imaginative book. . . . Wonderfully engaging."-Jason Potts, University of Queensland Darwinian Politics is the first book to examine political behavior from a modern evolutionary perspective. Paul H. Rubin demonstrates why certain political-moral philosophies succeed or fail in modern Western culture. He begins by showing relationships between biology and natural selection and the history of political philosophy and explains why desirable policies must treat each person as an individual. He considers the notion of group identity and conflict, observing a human propensity to form in-groups, a behavior that does not necessitate but often leads to deviancies such as racism. In discussing altruism, Rubin shows that people are willing to aid the poor if they are convinced that the recipients are not shirkers or freeloaders. This explains why recent welfare reforms are widely viewed as successful. Rubin illustrates evolutionary premises for religious belief and for desires to regulate the behavior of others, and how in today's world such regulation may not serve any useful purpose. Ultimately, the author argues that humans naturally seek political freedom, and modern Western society provides more freedom than any previous one. Paul H. Rubin is a professor of economics and law at Emory University. He is the author of Managing Business Transactions: Controlling the Costs of Coordinating, Communicating, and Decision Making and Privacy and the Commercial Use of Personal Information.
 

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Contents

Background Evolution and Politics
1
Groups Membership and Conflict
31
Altruism Cooperation and Sharing
57
Envy
87
Political Power
113
Religion and the Regulation of Behavior
135
How Humans Make Political Decisions
153
Relevance of the Pleistocene for Today
182
Notes
193
References
199
Index
215
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About the author (2002)

Paul H. Rubin is professor of economics at Emory University and vice-president of Glassman-Oliver Economic Consultants in Washington, D.C. He is the author of "Business Firms and the Common Law" and over fifty articles in the economics literature.

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