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Does Society Need Altruists? Coevolution of General Trust and Social Intelligence


  • 澁谷, 浩


Most social scientists, especially economists, believe that altruists do not exist because they cannot survive exploitation by egoists. An agent-based model demonstrates, however, that altruists can survive natural selection if society comprises four types of individuals: altruists, reciprocal altruists, egoists and reciprocal egoists. These individuals are characterized by different combinations of two phenotypes: general trust and social intelligence. In a society of four types of individuals, coevolution of general trust and social intelligence will emerge. Coevolution constitutes a new mechanism of the emergence of cooperation. If coevolution is strong, altruists will be able to survive and help society evolve into a high-trust and high-growth society. Without altruists, coevolution does not work and society fails to grow. Thus society needs altruists.

Suggested Citation

  • 澁谷, 浩, 2013. "Does Society Need Altruists? Coevolution of General Trust and Social Intelligence," 商学討究 (Shogaku Tokyu), Otaru University of Commerce, vol. 64(2/3), pages 169-194.
  • Handle: RePEc:ota:ecorev:10252/5241

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