Re: Fwd: The Urge to Punish Cheats: Not Just Human, but Selfless

From: salice@gmx.net
Date: Sun Feb 10 2002 - 14:06:59 GMT

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    Subject: Re: Fwd: The Urge to Punish Cheats: Not Just Human, but Selfless 
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    On 9 Feb 2002, at 21:37, Wade T.Smith wrote:

    > In an article titled "Altruistic Punishment in Humans," which appears in
    > the Jan. 10 issue of the journal Nature, Dr. Ernst Fehr of the
    > University of Zurich and Dr. Simon Gachter of the University of St.
    > Gallen in Switzerland offer evidence that people will seek to punish a
    > cheat even when the punishment is costly to them and offers no material
    > benefit the very definition of altruism. The researchers propose that
    > the threat of such punishment may have been crucial to the evolution of
    > human civilization and all its concomitant achievements.

    Is this really altruistic? Okay the punishers don't get any material
    benefit directly from punishing the cheater, but by making it more
    safe to invest money (like the test game showed) they do benefit
    from it in the end.

    Someone who wants to invest money without losing it is also
    interested in a cultural/economical environment where his money is
    safe, that's why he get's emotional satisfaction from punishing
    those who try to cheat and steal his money. Where's the altruism?

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