What can we learn from how other animals cooperate?

I finally started watching Succession as I read The Social Instinct by Nichola Raihani. The tension between cooperation and competition is palpable in both, although Nichola Raihani ultimately takes a more optimistic view of the future than I have seen so far in Succession.

She started writing the book at the outbreak of Covid-19 and the thread (and threat) of the pandemic influence much of the book. Raihani shows how cooperation often has negative as well as positive consequences, citing examples of suicidal ants and primate aggression. The book covers natural selection and variation. How families work and later how broader social networks function.

Ultimately, the book returns to the over-riding tension, that cooperation is ultimately about competing more effectively (and therefore there are usually winners and losers in the natural world). Nepotism, corruption and bribery are all forms of cooperation that help some people win over others. Cooperation has helped humans come a long way. Is it going to help us solve arguably the greatest threat to our continued success?

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