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Why those who have less give more

(16 Posts)
Greatnan Sun 23-Jun-13 08:10:07

Must be a link of some sort - my very altruistic daughter breastfed for 12 years (six children).

janeainsworth Sun 23-Jun-13 07:50:57

Fascinating article bags thank you.
j08 I think the age of viability doesn't mean just breathing, it means able to live independently, but not necessarily financially independently, if you are taking a strictly biological view.
I have to admit I never realised oxytocin did anything apart from let down milk and bring on uterine contractions.
butty I agree about the social networking and the paradox that it makes people more connected and at the same time more isolated - there is evidence apparently that young people are going out together less, but are constantly texting and facebooking each other.
It certainly makes charity donations easier, when all you have to do is click on a link and send a donation by Paypal.
I like the concept of 'competive altruism' - I'm slightly ashamed to say that I have sometimes suspected that people who are conspicuous in their generosity aren't entirely altruistic, and that perhaps explains it.

Bags Sun 23-Jun-13 07:09:56

Best because it really is a stupid question.

The real answer is that we are a social species and it improves our survival if we help others.

Bags Sun 23-Jun-13 07:06:12

Greatnan, this is the best answer to such questions I've seen:

@REnlightenment tweeted:

The easiest response to a faith-head asking you "why" you're good without religion is: "WHY THE FUCK DO YOU EVEN NEED A REASON TO BE GOOD?"

Greatnan Sun 23-Jun-13 04:59:18

Of course, volunteering can bring more tangible rewards than the 'feel good factor'. My daughter started helping at her local Riding for the Disabled branch when she first arrived in New Zealand. Her two children also volunteer there. She made lots of friends, and has been offered the chance to ride several horses owned by other volunteers. Not those used at RfD - they would be far too quiet for her!

Greatnan Sun 23-Jun-13 04:36:39

Stansgran - I suppose buying lottery tickets enables them to dream.

Greatnan Sun 23-Jun-13 04:34:43

I found that fascinating - thank you, Bags. I am sure we all know that feeling of well-being we get when we do something generous. I have long been arguing that if our species was not more co-operative than combative, it would not have evolved as it has. This has been my answer when asked by some people how I can have developed my morality when I am an atheist. In future, I will just say I was born with a good dose of oxytocin! smile

Butty Sat 22-Jun-13 12:38:00

I've read the rest of the article now, and liked the way it progressed in discussing how co-operation, generosity and consideration to others can enhance freedom and a sense of well-being. Very interesting to read about how using these qualities in the social networking sphere might aid compassion. Networking certainly shows a need to be a part of a group and to communicate. Yet there can be a tendency for this to promote a sense of being apart also, can't there? Together but not together? Communication is already changing, isn't it. What does that say about the cohesiveness of groups for survival. Is technology providing a safety net and/ or does it provide a filter that encourages individualism? Evolution already seems to be changing in this arena.

Liked the comments of looking through other peoples' specs. Always something to hold in mind.

Lots of questions to mull over.

Sorry to rabbit on so.....

Thanks B for the link.

Stansgran Sat 22-Jun-13 10:55:55

I couldn't get past the jargon. Why do the very rich and the very poor give more? Why do the very rich and the very poor bet on the horse racing? don't know why the poor buy lottery tickets. Its just a tax on the poor.I got dreadfully upset seeing a couple with a handful of scratch cards each out side S'bury's the other week. They must have spent about £10 each. They were shabby ,scruffy, smoking about their thirties and I wanted to shake them. Think of all the food you could buy for that, all the meals. I can understand one scratch card or lottery ticket for the thrill of possibly winning but not so many.

Bags Sat 22-Jun-13 10:49:28

That's one of the reasons gransnet is good – we get to see through other people's specs as well and get different perspectives smile

whenim64 Sat 22-Jun-13 10:46:32

Hee hee, Bags. We could never hide our deep interests - yours in biology and mine in psychology. I have no doubt I read that with different coloured specs! grin

Bags Sat 22-Jun-13 10:08:57

I was more interested in the evolutionary aspect of the discussion – how human beings need to cooperate in order to survive – and stuff like that.

whenim64 Sat 22-Jun-13 10:04:45

That's my kind of talk. Redistribution of wealth done voluntarily and charity-giving that is contagious in the right company, so the wealthy can be primed to respond as generously as those who have little. smile

Butty Sat 22-Jun-13 09:40:47

Hmm. Interesting. I have to pop out now (chickens and cat stuff), but right from the get-go (staying with the vernacular wink ),I was irritated that wealth and giving was seen in purely monetary terms, although I suppose this is the specific that the article is working with. Haven't read it all yet though.

j08 Sat 22-Jun-13 09:20:48

I haven't read it all, but do the Americans speak a different language to us? "reach the age of viability". (referring to offspring. confused Aren't we all viable if we manage to breathe ok. I guess they mean, capable of making money. hmm

I don't agree with what he's saying (being polite at the moment smile) I think people are borneither generous or mean. Whether they become rich or poor doesn't alter that.

Don't very rich people give away a lot of money as a tax dodge?

Bags Sat 22-Jun-13 08:49:39

Very interesting discussion of this here