Chapter 3: Cooperation, conflict, and the social organization of human activity
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Economic theory has conventionally emphasized how societies are arenas for trade and cooperation in organizing human activity. Adam Smith's reference to a natural tendency to truck and barter reflects this feature of social organization. But this is only one feature of the human nature that entails many, oft-contradictory features. When writ large, human nature must be described as a manifold paradox where conflict, envy, and concerns about status also figure in the social organization of human activity. A theorist can always stipulate a model where conflict and envy are abolished from society, leaving only trade and cooperation. This would be to substitute a caricature of society for the reality. In contrast, this chapter recognizes that conflict and cooperation are inseparable twins within the continuing cosmic drama that is human society.

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