Friday, May 11, 2007

The Selfish Gene

The Selfish Gene
Richard Dawkins
ISBN 0199291152
Publisher Oxford University Press

I have just finished reading this and it is a thoroughly
interesting book by a master in the field. One also gets the
impression that Dawkins is just a little mischievous in
upsetting existing prejudices, particularly religious ones.

The book is very easy to read and reduces some of the more
complex theories to an easily digested form. Contrary to
popular belief - the belief of those who haven't read the
book itself, just some reviews, Dawkins is far from
endorsing "Social Darwinism." Just because our genes are
selfish is no good reason for us to be.

Human history is full of examples of co-operation winning
out against competition. An example Dawkins does not use is
trade unionism. In the opening chapter he refers to trade
unionists as "selfish" - without making any reference to the
global corporations the trade unions are ranged against. You
can imagine how they would respond to individual employees
who wanted higher pay or better conditions. "You're fired"
is the standard response here. Trade unions emerged from a
realisation that the selfishness of the employers could be
met with collective bargaining.

And having said all that - read the book.


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