Meeting at Grand Central: Understanding the Social and Evolutionary Roots of Cooperation

Princeton University Press
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From the family to the workplace to the marketplace, every facet of our lives is shaped by cooperative interactions. Yet everywhere we look, we are confronted by proof of how difficult cooperation can be--snarled traffic, polarized politics, overexploited resources, social problems that go ignored. The benefits to oneself of a free ride on the efforts of others mean that collective goals often are not met. But compared to most other species, people actually cooperate a great deal. Why is this?

Meeting at Grand Central brings together insights from evolutionary biology, political science, economics, anthropology, and other fields to explain how the interactions between our evolved selves and the institutional structures we have created make cooperation possible. The book begins with a look at the ideas of Mancur Olson and George Williams, who shifted the question of why cooperation happens from an emphasis on group benefits to individual costs. It then explores how these ideas have influenced our thinking about cooperation, coordination, and collective action. The book persuasively argues that cooperation and its failures are best explained by evolutionary and social theories working together. Selection sometimes favors cooperative tendencies, while institutions, norms, and incentives encourage and make possible actual cooperation.

Meeting at Grand Central will inspire researchers from different disciplines and intellectual traditions to share ideas and advance our understanding of cooperative behavior in a world that is more complex than ever before.

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About the author

Lee Cronk is professor of anthropology at Rutgers University. He is the author of That Complex Whole: Culture and the Evolution of Human Behavior. Beth L. Leech is associate professor of political science at Rutgers University. She is the coauthor of Basic Interests: The Importance of Groups in Politics and in Political Science (Princeton).
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Oct 28, 2012
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Pages
264
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ISBN
9781400845484
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Economics / General
Political Science / General
Political Science / History & Theory
Science / Life Sciences / Evolution
Social Science / Anthropology / General
Social Science / Sociology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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"Lobbyists at Work is a must-read for anyone interested in the serious business of government. Leech's probing questions reflect her years of research tracking the real impact of money and influence on policy." —Thomas Hale Boggs, Jr. (Chairman, Patton Boggs LLP)

Received wisdom has it that lobbyists run the American government on behalf of moneyed interests. But what makes lobbyists run, and how do they induce legislators and bureaucrats to do their bidding? These are questions for which even the harshest critics lack satisfying answers. Lobbyists at Work explores what lobbyists really do and why. It goes behind the scenes and brings back in-depth interviews with fifteen political advocates chosen to represent the breadth and diversity of the lobbying profession.

The interviewees profiled in this book range from the top lobbyists-for-hire at the most powerful K Street firms to pro bono lobbyists for the disenfranchised and powerless. The roster spans all types of lobbyists working for all types of clients and seeking to influence all levels and branches of government. The permutations include business-lobbying-government, government-lobbying-government, government-to-business revolving door, regulatory lobbying, state and local lobbying, citizen-advocacy lobbying,single-issue lobbying, and multiple-issue lobbying. In colorful and sometimes hilarious detail, the interviewees take the reader through their arsenals of traditional and next-generation lobbying techniques, including face-to-face persuasion of elected officials and their staffs, educational campaigns and coalition-building, ghost-drafting complex legislation and regulation for government committees and agencies, contributions, and social media campaigns.

In Lobbyists at Work, the normally self-effacing subjects open up about themselves and their profession: why they chose to become lobbyists, what motivates them to keep lobbying, how they cultivate their lobbying influence, how they adjust to changes in the rules affecting their lobbying methods, and what they actually do at work each day (and night). As an authority on lobbying respected in Washington for her impartiality, Professor Beth Leech elicits frank disclosures, career tips, and riveting stories about the good, the bad, and the ambivalent on both sides of the symbiotic relationship between government officials and lobbyists.

A generation ago, scholars saw interest groups as the single most important element in the American political system. Today, political scientists are more likely to see groups as a marginal influence compared to institutions such as Congress, the presidency, and the judiciary. Frank Baumgartner and Beth Leech show that scholars have veered from one extreme to another not because of changes in the political system, but because of changes in political science. They review hundreds of books and articles about interest groups from the 1940s to today; examine the methodological and conceptual problems that have beset the field; and suggest research strategies to return interest-group studies to a position of greater relevance.

The authors begin by explaining how the group approach to politics became dominant forty years ago in reaction to the constitutional-legal approach that preceded it. They show how it fell into decline in the 1970s as scholars ignored the impact of groups on government to focus on more quantifiable but narrower subjects, such as collective-action dilemmas and the dynamics of recruitment. As a result, despite intense research activity, we still know very little about how groups influence day-to-day governing. Baumgartner and Leech argue that scholars need to develop a more coherent set of research questions, focus on large-scale studies, and pay more attention to the context of group behavior. Their book will give new impetus and direction to a field that has been in the academic wilderness too long.

This volume presents state-of-the-art empirical studies working in a paradigm that has become known as human behavioral ecology. The emergence of this approach in anthropology was marked by publication by Aldine in 1979 of an earlier collection of studies edited by Chagnon and Irons entitled Evolutionary Biology and Human Social Behavior: An Anthropological Perspective. During the two decades that have passed since then, this innovative approach has matured and expanded into new areas that are explored here.

The book opens with an introductory chapter by Chagnon and Irons tracing the origins of human behavioral ecology and its subsequent development. Subsequent chapters, written by both younger scholars and established researchers, cover a wide range of societies and topics organ-ized into six sections. The first section includes two chapters that provide historical background on the development of human behavioral ecology and com-pare it to two complementary approaches in the study of evolution and human behavior, evolutionary psychology, and dual inheritance theory. The second section includes five studies of mating efforts in a variety of societies from South America and Africa. The third section covers parenting, with five studies on soci-eties from Africa, Asia, and North America. The fourth section breaks somewhat with the tradition in human behavioral ecology by focusing on one particularly problematic issue, the demographic transition, using data from Europe, North America, and Asia. The fifth section includes studies of cooperation and helping behaviors, using data from societies in Micronesia and South America. The sixth and final section consists of a single chapter that places the volume in a broader critical and comparative context.

The contributions to this volume demonstrate, with a high degree of theoretical and methodological sophistication--the maturity and freshness of this new paradigm in the study of human behavior. The volume will be of interest to anthropologists and other professions working on the study of cross-cultural human behavior.

Lee Cronk is associate professor of anthropology at Rutgers University. Napoleon Chagnon is professor of anthropology, emeritus at the University of California, Santa Barbara. William Irons is professor of anthropology at Northwestern University, Evanston Illinois.
"Lobbyists at Work is a must-read for anyone interested in the serious business of government. Leech's probing questions reflect her years of research tracking the real impact of money and influence on policy." —Thomas Hale Boggs, Jr. (Chairman, Patton Boggs LLP)

Received wisdom has it that lobbyists run the American government on behalf of moneyed interests. But what makes lobbyists run, and how do they induce legislators and bureaucrats to do their bidding? These are questions for which even the harshest critics lack satisfying answers. Lobbyists at Work explores what lobbyists really do and why. It goes behind the scenes and brings back in-depth interviews with fifteen political advocates chosen to represent the breadth and diversity of the lobbying profession.

The interviewees profiled in this book range from the top lobbyists-for-hire at the most powerful K Street firms to pro bono lobbyists for the disenfranchised and powerless. The roster spans all types of lobbyists working for all types of clients and seeking to influence all levels and branches of government. The permutations include business-lobbying-government, government-lobbying-government, government-to-business revolving door, regulatory lobbying, state and local lobbying, citizen-advocacy lobbying,single-issue lobbying, and multiple-issue lobbying. In colorful and sometimes hilarious detail, the interviewees take the reader through their arsenals of traditional and next-generation lobbying techniques, including face-to-face persuasion of elected officials and their staffs, educational campaigns and coalition-building, ghost-drafting complex legislation and regulation for government committees and agencies, contributions, and social media campaigns.

In Lobbyists at Work, the normally self-effacing subjects open up about themselves and their profession: why they chose to become lobbyists, what motivates them to keep lobbying, how they cultivate their lobbying influence, how they adjust to changes in the rules affecting their lobbying methods, and what they actually do at work each day (and night). As an authority on lobbying respected in Washington for her impartiality, Professor Beth Leech elicits frank disclosures, career tips, and riveting stories about the good, the bad, and the ambivalent on both sides of the symbiotic relationship between government officials and lobbyists.

A generation ago, scholars saw interest groups as the single most important element in the American political system. Today, political scientists are more likely to see groups as a marginal influence compared to institutions such as Congress, the presidency, and the judiciary. Frank Baumgartner and Beth Leech show that scholars have veered from one extreme to another not because of changes in the political system, but because of changes in political science. They review hundreds of books and articles about interest groups from the 1940s to today; examine the methodological and conceptual problems that have beset the field; and suggest research strategies to return interest-group studies to a position of greater relevance.

The authors begin by explaining how the group approach to politics became dominant forty years ago in reaction to the constitutional-legal approach that preceded it. They show how it fell into decline in the 1970s as scholars ignored the impact of groups on government to focus on more quantifiable but narrower subjects, such as collective-action dilemmas and the dynamics of recruitment. As a result, despite intense research activity, we still know very little about how groups influence day-to-day governing. Baumgartner and Leech argue that scholars need to develop a more coherent set of research questions, focus on large-scale studies, and pay more attention to the context of group behavior. Their book will give new impetus and direction to a field that has been in the academic wilderness too long.

This volume presents state-of-the-art empirical studies working in a paradigm that has become known as human behavioral ecology. The emergence of this approach in anthropology was marked by publication by Aldine in 1979 of an earlier collection of studies edited by Chagnon and Irons entitled Evolutionary Biology and Human Social Behavior: An Anthropological Perspective. During the two decades that have passed since then, this innovative approach has matured and expanded into new areas that are explored here.

The book opens with an introductory chapter by Chagnon and Irons tracing the origins of human behavioral ecology and its subsequent development. Subsequent chapters, written by both younger scholars and established researchers, cover a wide range of societies and topics organ-ized into six sections. The first section includes two chapters that provide historical background on the development of human behavioral ecology and com-pare it to two complementary approaches in the study of evolution and human behavior, evolutionary psychology, and dual inheritance theory. The second section includes five studies of mating efforts in a variety of societies from South America and Africa. The third section covers parenting, with five studies on soci-eties from Africa, Asia, and North America. The fourth section breaks somewhat with the tradition in human behavioral ecology by focusing on one particularly problematic issue, the demographic transition, using data from Europe, North America, and Asia. The fifth section includes studies of cooperation and helping behaviors, using data from societies in Micronesia and South America. The sixth and final section consists of a single chapter that places the volume in a broader critical and comparative context.

The contributions to this volume demonstrate, with a high degree of theoretical and methodological sophistication--the maturity and freshness of this new paradigm in the study of human behavior. The volume will be of interest to anthropologists and other professions working on the study of cross-cultural human behavior.

Lee Cronk is associate professor of anthropology at Rutgers University. Napoleon Chagnon is professor of anthropology, emeritus at the University of California, Santa Barbara. William Irons is professor of anthropology at Northwestern University, Evanston Illinois.
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