Victor W. Hwang. What’s The Unit of Analysis for Building Villages?

September 20, 2014
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Quick, think of a village. What do you see? Each person’s mind creates a distinct picture. Perhaps you imagine storybook timbered houses clustered around a town square? Maybe you recall scenes from your childhood hometown? We each have a personalized notion of the concept of village. But what if our brains are fooling us? What […]

Posted in: Commentaries

Lars Trägårdh. Nordic Magic and the Paradox of Asocial Sociability

September 10, 2014
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Commentary on “Blueprint for a Global Village” The Nordic Model was largely declared dead in the water around 1990, when Sweden and the other Nordic countries experienced serious economic crises. Critics, who had long predicted the collapse of the welfare state, celebrated the victory of a more hard-headed capitalism along neo-liberal lines. Today, some 25 […]

Posted in: Commentaries

Peter J. Richerson. Comment on “Blueprint for the Global Village”

September 9, 2014
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Wilson and Hessen’s essay has many true and useful ideas, but the first part of their essay seems to argue against the final part. In the natural world, as they correctly point out at the beginning, selection at lower levels of organization generally wins out over selection at higher levels. Very occasionally, groups evolve mechanisms […]

Posted in: Commentaries

Nina Witoszek. The Beauty of “Getting to Norway”: Comments on David Sloan Wilson and Dag’s Hessen’s essay “Blueprint for the Global Village”

September 7, 2014
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In the acclaimed study The Origins of Political Order (2011), Francis Fukuyama describes the project of building an exemplary social democracy – with a generous welfare state, individual rights, and the rule of law – in terms of “getting to Denmark.”[1] For people living in genocidal or troubled parts of the world, Demark has become […]

David Sloan Wilson and Dag Olav Hessen. Blueprint for the Global Village

September 4, 2014
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Life consists of units within units. In the biological world, we have genes, individuals, groups, species, and ecosystems – all nested within the biosphere. In the human world, we have genes, individuals, families, villages and cities, provinces, and nations – all nested within the global village. In both worlds, a problem lurks at every rung […]

Posted in: Focus Articles

The New Guinea Puzzle

September 1, 2014
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On several occasions, when I presented the results of our model and data analysis that support the idea that the primary engine of the evolution of large-scale states is warfare, people objected by saying that there are lots of places on earth where warfare is very intense, but no states formed. One of the most […]

Posted in: Blogs

Counterproductive Way of War

August 28, 2014
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Over the last two years I’ve written a number of blogs exploring the role of warfare in cultural group selection (you can see these blogs collected under the heading Ways of War in Popular Blogs and Series). Today I’d like to return to the question, What makes war productive as an engine of cultural evolution? […]

Posted in: Blogs
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