virus: Disaster relief (was Altruism, et al)

Tim Rhodes (
Fri, 25 Apr 1997 16:15:05 -0700 (PDT)

On Thu, 24 Apr 1997, Martz wrote:

> Most people have times of lean and times of plenty. For them, setting
> aside some surplus for a rainy day is merely prudence. I think
> 'forseeable need' is fairly meaningless in this context as it matters
> not whether the farmer sees a drought coming; if he hasn't prepared for
> it he's fucked. Goddbye one farming family, goodbye any altruistic gene
> they may have carried. This is what I meant when I said altruism would
> be a short-lived blip were it to ever evolve; altruistic people will
> give away things they might need, selfish people won't. Who then has the
> survival advantage when disaster strikes?

What if this happens: By giving away those things that they may end up
someday needing, the altruistic family successfully spreads the "help
those in need" meme. Haven't they then efficently prepared for ANY
disaster that may befall them without having to remove resources from the
pool (by hoarding suplies)?

This is the technique that was used by many Native American Nations (and
it's mis-interpretation part of origin of the phrase "Indian-giver"). And
it worked quite well until it was largely criminalized by the
forked-toungued Pale-skins.

-Prof. Tim