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The personal associations of politicians and bankers, while pregnant with potential for historians, have been remarkably little explored. This is not altogether surprising as their essence was informality and discretion, so consequently they are poorly documented and hard to pin down. They were probably at their most intense in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries when banking was in the hands of private bankers acting in small partnerships and controlling their own capital. In charge of his destiny and possessing flexibility and discretion, the private banker was well placed to form associations with men of influence. Such relationships were not easily replicated in the era of joint stock banking which overhauled private banking as the nineteenth century progressed; here relationships were more rigid and formulaic.
The relationship between politician and private banker was at its most complex, potent, and durable in the arena of merchant banking. The private merchant banker long outlived his high street equivalent and survived until well into the twentieth century. He had his origins in international merchanting, trading in commodities, and corresponding with a network of trusted merchant houses in trading centres around the world. The most successful and powerful merchants added trade finance – that is, financing the trade of other merchants – to their activities and emerged as merchant bankers. It was a short step from this to financing governments, businesses and individuals, either through loans or trade finance, or, increasingly from the late eighteenth century, by buying up and/or distributing bonds of governments and, later, businesses, in need of finance.
“Founders” of new scholarly ideas, perspectives, or paradigms are people who advocate for such ideas before wider scholarly audiences accept them or even know they exist. Such scholars have an uphill battle. They must persuade journal and book editors to publish their work. Those gatekeepers depend on reviewers with established reputations in conventional terms, and these reviewers generally oppose anything that threatens their comfortable intellectual lives. If the idea is as stunningly simple as Darwin's natural selection theory, an innovator might have a somewhat easier time; Thomas Huxley reportedly remarked upon reading On the Origin of Species, “How extremely stupid of me not to have thought of that.” But with conceptually and methodologically broad ideas, such as the application of biologically based psychological thinking to a traditional set of disciplinary problems, it can be tough to even get a foot in the door.
L. Harmon Zeigler died from a massive heart attack in Tacoma on July
31, 2006. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Pat; his two children,
Mike and Amanda; and three grandchildren, Ben, Zoe and Ruby.
William C. Mitchell died January 2, 2006, at his home in Eugene,
Oregon. He had suffered from pulmonary fibrosis. He was 80. His wife since
1959, Joyce Mitchell, died in 1996; he is survived by a brother James W.
Mitchell, of Kingsford, Michigan, and two sisters, Jeanine Watt of Iron
River, Michigan and Waverly Jarvis of Withee, Wisconsin.
Laboratory research studying behavior in the Prisoner's Dilemma (PD) game is consistent with the commonplace perception that social exchange is risky. Although they often do cooperate, people also often defect. Thus, the decision to enter a PD game with a stranger, about whom one has no good basis for predicting behavior, is a bet on cooperation. Many investigators have explored a range of cognitive processes and individual differences putatively bearing on the choice to enter such games, but few have asked how people perceive, assess, and respond to social risk in general. That is what we ask here. From the well known finding that people are risk-averse in the domain of gains and risk-tolerant in the domain of losses, we predict that, with game incentives constant, people will be more willing to enter social relationships when game payoffs are framed as losses than when they are framed as gains. We tested this prediction in a student population playing PD games. Results strongly supported the prediction, suggesting that human sociality may have evolved more as a defensive response to the possibility of loss than as an opportunistic attempt to capture gain.
How to promote cooperative behavior is classically solved by incentives that lead self-interested individuals in socially desirable directions, but by now well-established laboratory results show that people often do act cooperatively, even at significant cost to themselves. These results suggest that cooperative dispositions might be an evolved part of human nature. Yet such dispositions appear inconsistent with the “Machiavellian intelligence” paradigm, which develops the idea that our brains have evolved, in substantial part, for capturing adaptive advantage from within-group competition. We use simulation to address the evolutionary relationship between basic Machiavellian capacities and cooperative dispositions. Results show that selection on such capacities can (1) permit the spread of cooperative dispositions even in cooperation-unfriendly worlds and (2) support transitions to populations with high mean cooperative dispositions. We distinguish between “rationality in action” and “rationality in design”—the adaptive fit between a design attribute of an animal and its environment. The combination of well-developed Machiavellian intelligence, modest mistrust, and high cooperative dispositions appears to be a rational design for the brains of highly political animals such as ourselves.
Several bodies of theory develop the idea that the intelligence of highly social animals – most interestingly, humans – is significantly organized around the adaptive problems posed by their sociality. By this ‘political intelligence’ hypothesis, sociality selects for, among other attributes, capacities for ‘manipulating’ information others can gather about one's own future behaviour, and for ‘mindreading’ such manipulations by others. Yet we have little theory about how diverse parameters of the games that social animals play select for political intelligence. We begin to address that with an evolutionary simulation in which agents choose between playing Prisoner's Dilemma and Hawk–Dove games on the basis of the information they can retrieve about each other given four broad information processing capacities. We show that political intelligence – operationally, the aggregate of those four capacities – evolves to its highest levels when co-operative games are generally more attractive than conflictual ones, but when conflictual games are at least sometimes also attractive.
Like other social animals, humans play adaptively important games, and current evolutionary theory predicts special-purpose, domain-specific cognitive mechanisms for playing such games. We offer a functional analysis of the information requirements for successfully playing one important social game, the “hawk-dove” conflict-of-interest game, developing new graphic conventions for doing so. In particular, we address the orders of recognition necessary for successfully playing such games, showing that there are adaptive advantages of capacities for first, second, third, and fourth such orders, but no more. We suggest that first-order recognition is not only the most basic in analytic terms but is likely to have been the first to evolve, with subsequent orders added later in evolution.
The hijacking and purposeful crashing of airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, prompts questions about why the passengers and crew of those airplanes did not act to prevent these attacks, as did at least some passengers on a hijacked flight that crashed in Pennsylvania. We argue, first, that humans have an evolved cognitive bias that leads to the expectation that antagonists hope to survive conflict and, second, that highly credible information to the contrary is needed to overcome this bias. Absent such information, the passengers on at least two airplanes incorrectly interpreted the game being played as a hawk-dove version of a conflict-of-interest game, when it was actually a “suicidal terrorism” variant of that family. Given that other terrorists may have been in the air and ready to act, the airlines' policy of not informing passengers about such events could have risked disabling them from reacting forcefully when force alone was advisable.
We use computer simulation to identify a process by which cooperation evolves without iteration, and evolves better in large than in small societies. It is based on an empirically supported heuristic for deciding whether to enter noniterated prisoner's dilemma games, namely, Expect others to have the same dispositions as yourself. Players are assigned a probability of cooperating that also defines their expectations about others' behavior and thus their willingness to play. The carrying capacity of the ecology is 10,000. Players multiply by 2 if their aggregate payoff in a given round (1) places them among the more successful 5,000 and (2) is more than zero. We find that the most adaptive disposition is toward the mean of the population. That is where individuals have the optimal mix of consummated plays with more cooperative players and unconsummated plays with less cooperative ones. When encounters occur by proximity, fortuitous clusters toward the cooperative tail will grow and dominate the society. Such clusters are more likely in large societies.
In the June 1991 issue of this Review John Orbell and Robyn Dawes have argued that prisoner's dilemma games are shaped, in part, by “cognitive misers”—players who assume other players are like themselves. In such games, this results in more play and in a higher expected payoff by cooperators than by defectors, lain McLean agrees with the conclusions of Orbell and Dawes but takes issue with their reasons and their model. In turn, Orbell and Dawes retort, arguing that players in prisoner's dilemma games do not respond as McLean assumes they will.
We propose a new model of cooperators' advantage depending neither on supplementary incentives nor on cooperators' capacity to recognize, and play selectively with, other cooperators. It depends, rather, on players' making the play-no play decision by the heuristic of projecting their own “cooperate-defect” choices onto potential partners. Cooperators offer to play more often, and fellow cooperators will more often accept their offer. When certain boundary conditions are met, this results in a higher expected payoff for cooperators than for defectors. Empirical support for this heuristic is suggested by expectations data from related social dilemma experiments. Moreover, its use can be justified in Bayesean terms. Our model brings behavioral decision theory's “cognitive miser” paradigm to bear on interdisciplinary concern with the evolution of cooperative behavior and shows how, if other mechanisms provide a suitable “initial kick,” cooperation can evolve in the absence of iteration and in large, mobile societies.
Social dilemmas occur when the pursuit of self-interest by individuals in a group leads to less than optimal collective outcomes for everyone in the group. A critical assumption in the human sciences is that people's choices in such dilemmas are individualistic, selfish, and rational. Hence, cooperation in the support of group welfare will only occur if there are selfish incentives that convert the social dilemma into a nondilemma. In recent years, inclusive fitness theories have lent weight to such traditional views of rational selfishness on Darwinian grounds. To show that cooperation is based on selfish incentives, however, one must provide evidence that people do not cooperate without such incentives. In a series of experimental social dilemmas, subjects were instructed to make single, anonymous choices about whether or not to contribute money for a shared “bonus” that would be provided only if enough other people in the group also contributed their money. Noncontributors cited selfish reasons for their choices; contributors did not. If people are allowed to engage in discussion, they will contribute resources at high rates, frequently on irrational grounds, to promote group welfare. These findings are consistent with previous research on ingroup biasing effects that cannot be explained by “economic man” or “selfish gene” theories. An alternative explanation is that sociality was a primary factor shaping the evolution of Homo sapiens. The cognitive and affective mechanisms underlying such choices evolved under selection pressures on small groups for developing and maintaining group membership and for predicting and controlling the behavior of other group members. This sociality hypothesis organizes previously inexplicable and disparate phenomena in a Darwinian framework and makes novel predictions about human choice.