DEEP PRAGMATISM

In the language of Ethio-politics

-The question of Nationalities- /የብሔር ጥያቄ /

groups

DEEP PRAGMATISM
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Morality is fundamentally about the problem of cooperation. There are things that we can accomplish together that we can’t accomplish as individuals. That’s why it makes sense for us, whether us as humans, or cells inside a body, or individual wolves coming together to form a pack of wolves—individuals can gain more by working together than they
can separately; teamwork is effective. But teamwork is also problematic, because there is always the temptation to pull for yourself instead of the team; that’s the fundamental problem of cooperation.
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The best illustration of the problem of cooperation comes from the ecologist, Garrett Hardin, who talked about what he called the “tragedy of the commons.” This is a parable that he used to illustrate the problem of overpopulation, but it really applies to any cooperation problem. The story goes like this: You have a bunch of herders who are raising sheep on a common pasture, and each of them faces the following question every so often: Should I add another animal to my herd? A rational herder thinks like this: If I add another animal to my herd, then I get more money when I take that animal to market. That’s the upside. It’s a pretty good upside. What’s the downside? That animal has to be supported, but since we’re sharing this common pasture, the cost is going to be shared by everybody, but since it’s my herd, the benefit all comes to me. So I’ll add another animal to my herd, and then another one, and another one. And it’s not just that herder. All the herders have the same set of incentives. Then something happens. Everybody has
added so many animals to their herds that the commons—the pasture—can’t support them all. The animals eat all the grass, then there’s no food left, all the animals die, and all the people are left hungry; and that’s the tragedy of the commons. It’s essentially about the tension between individual rationality and collective rationality; what’s good for me, versus what’s good for us. What’s good for us is for everybody to limit the size of their herd so that you could have a sustainable future in which everybody gets to share the commons and there’s enough to go around for everybody. But what’s good for me is to have everybody else limit their herds, and I add more and more animals to my herd, and I get more for myself. That’s the fundamental problem of collaboration, that is, pulling for yourself versus doing what’s good for the group.
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And it’s not just that herder. All the herders have the same set of incentives. Then something happens. Everybody has added so many animals to their herds that the commons—the pasture—can’t support them all. The animals eat all the grass, then there’s no food left, all the animals die, and all the people are left hungry; and that’s the tragedy of the commons. It’s essentially about the tension between individual rationality and collective rationality; what’s good for me, versus what’s good for us. What’s good for us is for everybody to limit the size of their herd so that you could have a sustainable future in which everybody gets to share the commons and there’s enough to go around for everybody. But what’s good for me is to have everybody else limit their herds, and I add more and more animals to my herd, and I get
more for myself. That’s the fundamental problem of collaboration, that is, pulling for yourself versus doing what’s good for the group.
How do you solve that?

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There are different ways of being cooperative. There are different ways of solving that problem. On one extreme we have the Communist solution, which is to say that not only are we going to have a common pasture, we’ll just have a common herd; everybody shares everything. There’s no incentive for anyone to pull for themselves instead of the group, because everything is just shared. Another solution to that problem is to be completely individualistic and to say, “Not only are we not going to have a shared herd, we’re not going to have a shared pasture. We’re going to divide up the commons into different plots and everybody gets their own little piece of it, and everybody takes care of themselves.” Neither of these is inherently moral or immoral. They’re different terms on which a group can be cooperative—one more collectivist and the other more individualist.
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Now the question is: How are they going to do this? We have different tribes that are cooperative in different ways. Are they going to be individualistic? Are they going to be collectivists? Are they going to pray to this god? Are they going to pray to that god? Are they going to be allowed to have assault weapons or not allowed to have assault weapons? That’s the fundamental problem of the modern world—that basic morality solves the tragedy of the commons, but it doesn’t solve what I call the “tragedy of common sense morality.” Each moral tribe has its own sense of what’s right or wrong—a sense of how people ought to get along with each other and treat each other—but the common senses of the different tribes are different. That’s the fundamental moral problem.
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Read or Listen more:
http://www.edge.org/conversation/deep-pragmatism

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