Howard Rheingold on collaboration

Howard Rheingold takes the old models of war, competition and win at all costs and makes the case for collective action. He talks about the prisoners dilemma and turning it to an assurance game; he talks about the ultimatum game and the fact that fairness can be influenced by our society or cultural; finally the tragedy of the commons is discussed – how people destroy the commonland upon which they depend. The same is true of other disciplines other than economics and that is that collective action can win over self interest and those that want to take adverse gain from others. The market calls for co-operation and sharing – Open Source is a consequence of this. Creative Commons is a similar development, as is Wikipedia. eBay solves the prisoners dilemma by creating a trust mechanism that allows both parties to gain.

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Thus collaboration is essentially good. It’s in the common interest. It’s the way forward for everyone to gain and not mean that winning needs a victor. All win if they self-organise and work together. Doesn’t mean that every outcome is good; doesn’t mean that all co-operation is for good purposes; but effort is required to ensure the co-operation process is started and becomes mainstream.

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