The Unselfish Gene – Benkler


From generations to generations it was belief that all the human beings are selfish. Most scientist, researchers and executives also believed that human beings are attracted in advancing their quantifiable benefits.

This belief has come to an end since modern evolutionary research in psychology, biology, sociology and other fields like economic had proven through evidence that human beings are far away from selfishness. Human tendency became more cooperative than before using several collaborative tools such as, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Craigslist, and other open source based software. Using this kind of tools human being becomes more productive to pursue community goal rather than his/her own selfishness goal.

Several businesses and organizations have accepted this approach to achieve reputation though motivating employee with effective and efficient way. This approach has helped to employees to build their career with organization as well. For example, Zappos allows their employees to have fun and friendly environment while working. Zappos allows employees to put their family and social pictures and cultural belonging to their desk. Zappos wanted their employees to get involves deeply in social networking fields, so employees have stress free environment and Zappos could get more customers through social networking.

In conclusion, researchers founded that communication, fairness, morality and motivation are the key elements which can help to reduce the selfishness in an individual to achieve desirable outcome for the entire community.


About itsjustmebuddy

Hi guys, this is Raj Kothari. This is my last semester at UAB to finish my BS Information System degree. I am exited to take this course to gain some knowledge about blogs posting, and by the way this my first blog also.
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8 Responses to The Unselfish Gene – Benkler

  1. jasonbiv says:

    I tend to agree with scientists. I think that by and large, we are all selfish to some extent. We all have our individual needs that we expect to be met and we will do what is necessary to meet these needs. If this means stepping on some people to get to the top, then so be it. This can be seen perfectly in the business world. The business world is usually a cutthroat place that is not for the faint of heart. Only the strong survive. I don’t think everyone is wired that selfishly though. There are aspects of selfishness in all of us, but some of us find ways to actually be selfless and to help others. While you raise some good points, I am not sold on the fact that sites like Facebook and Twitter have drastically helped us become less selfish. I do think these platforms have given us an opportunity to prove that we can be selfless, but this was not the primary goal for these sites. I routinely hear and see people bragging about how many friends they have on Facebook or how many followers they have on Twitter. These are hardly selfless attitudes. On the flip side, I have also seen people use these social media platforms to promote selfless causes such as cancer awareness or raising money for specific causes. I guess these social media platforms can promote either selfish or selfless aspirations depending on how we use them.

  2. patwhittuab says:

    Raj Kothari,
    Another good blog with some good points. Social scientists are finally beginning to see that selfishness is not the only motivator. What drives people to get together and collaborate to make something for free? It certainly isn’t incentives. The Ted video in the material even showed inverse relationships between creativity and external incentives. Instead, getting people thinking together outside of the box through intrinsic motivators (desire to be a part of society, desire for self actualization, pride, etc.) is the way to increase innovation. I love your Zappos example, it reminds me of how 20% of google employee time is designated for personal projects.

    The desire to create is one of the motivators I think is not mentioned as much as necessary. Painters, web designers, musicians, dancers, news editors, and others all get together to create art and media for free use by others on the web. In the first Ted video we learned of crowd accelerated innovation through the break-dancing example. People were sharing their dances and learning others’, increasing the rate of innovation dramatically. Why? I believe because people want to create art and share it with others. In sharing that art they collaborate and make the web a better place. How is this possible in the workplace? It is important for the company to look at the intrinsic motivators of its employees and use this to create collaboration and increase creativity.

    Good points, but never underestimate the selfishness of humans!
    Patrick Whittington

  3. Mason Miller says:

    Really interesting though Raj. While there is no arguing with the studies done on human selfishness, I can’t help but still feel humans are selfish. Now I’m not saying that all humans are selfish, but I think we all have a touch of it in us. Of course some more than others. I don’t see humans as being born selfish, but instead observe it in society. We all strive to fill our own needs, most of us fill our own needs until worrying about others. I know I do to a certain extent. Selfish is sort of a bad word in today’s world. Most of us do not like being called selfish and some even go as far as they can to prove it. I really do not think having a bit of selfishness is a bad thing, you just do not want to become surrounded by it.

    Great blog!

    • Thanks for the comment. You mention good point in your comment. Everybody has some kind of needs. And I think that needs make person to become selfish. So, you are right about that to have little bit selfishness is not bad thing as long as its not giving someone hard time. If selfishness is giving you and community to valuable objectives then it is a good thing to be selfish.

  4. I’m in agreement with JasonBiv about evryone being selfish to some extent. Everyone has heard “it is better to give than to receive”, but there is always whose one or more things are so valuable to them that they would not depart with for anything. Eventhough this is somewhat of an extreme example, this does show one form of selfishness. It sounds crazy, but I have seen patterns of less selfish people with the update of technology and social media. Social media allows for people to be a lot more open without wittnessing the effects of it first hand. Eventhough I haven’t had the opportunity to go to Zappos, but it does seem like a fun, interesting atmosphere. I could see where it could portray a sence of selflessness.But, just like any true company, i’m sure it has it’s limitation of cans and cannots. Without being able to wittness the environment first hand, this, of course, if my opinion.

    Good Blog Raj, thanks for the insight and informational words.

    • Thanks for the comment Terrence. I think we all agree that it is good to be a selfish to some extent. Terrence I like the statement that you put in your comment saying “it is better to give than to receive”. I felt it. When I do some donation for some poor people for their healthcare in India, I feel very better and I feel different kind of satisfaction which I can’t explain. I thank god, he gives me enough to give some one who really needs it.

  5. vjdixon334 says:

    You have to be selfish at some point in life. Prime example, my mother is the most giving person I know and about as unselfish as they come. She is a 2nd grade teacher during the school year, a residential counselor for high school females during the summer, and a part-time cashier at a local grocery store. Basically, she is always working 2 jobs and is now working Monday-Sunday. Some might argue that she is doing all of this for the money but I beg to differ. My point is, she is When she is not working, she is baking cakes or pies for her friends, she is visiting my grandmother, or she is volunteering. She is always doing something. On the rare days when she is doing absolutely nothing, she is called in on her off days to come to work because other workers have called in and she is the best at what she does. The problem with this picture is, she does not know how to say no. She always wants to be there for others and give whatever she has but while doing that she is wearing herself (mind and body) down. When does she think of her own self? She needs to learn how to be selfish. There should be a balance with everything in life, There should be times when one’s own self interests are priority and other times when the common good of the group should be the priority. With the right motivators, anything is possible. Financial rewards for innovations might not always be the best tool; however, whatever the motivation tool should be considered.

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