Social Question

Soubresaut's avatar

What makes someone decide whether to act in self-interest or group-interest?

Asked by Soubresaut (13700points) November 17th, 2010

I was in a class simulation recently, and I won’t go into too much detail, but basically we all chose a number of “fish” to take out of a limited pool, up to 10 fish, and after each round the remaining fish would get a 50% increase.

Well, a lot of people took it really seriously in many different ways. Some figured out quickly that if everyone didn’t take anything for two of the rounds, we’d as a group get to take the max for the rest of the simulation because the math would make our “fish” self-sustaining.
And for me, that made so much sense: there were a lot of rounds, and it wasn’t life or death, it was just a classroom excercise. But apparently it didn’t for a lot of people. So many people kept taking 10 fish while others (me!) “starved” with the 0.

I so don’t understand it. Yes, it’s just a classroom excercise, but it happens for real, too. Can someone help me and explain? My background is so community-oriented, and I know that, so I just don’t get the other side.

What’s your take on the concept in general?

What would you do? Do you do? Do you want to do?

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1 Answer

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m trying to wrap my mind around this…for me, if it was a game, I think I’d work to get on top (because I’‘m competitive) and then have fun being the good guy by handing out fish to my less “fortunate” players. If it was literally life or death for my kids or my family, I’d do whatever it took to stay on top and everyone else be damned. If there were other, less serious, but real-life consequences involved, I think I’d try to work for the best of the whole group. Am I making any sense? Go fish.

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