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Social & Political Philosophy

What role does human nature play in the effctiveness of groups? – Kelly and Nick

Let’s start off with a bit of logic.

(Premise 1.1)When humans come together and form groups, they are able to mutually benefit each other.
(Premise 1.2) When more people work towards something, more can be accomplished
(Conclusion 1) The more people in a group, the more each member is able to benefit from the others work

(Premise 2.1) The more unified a group is, the more efficient the work can be
(Conclusion 2) The bigger and more unified a group, the more prosperous it will be.

(Premise 3.1) Countries are a type of group
(Conclusion 3) The larger and more unified a country is, the more prosperous it will be.

In theory, or at least according to this logic, large centralized governments with unified laws throughout the territory would be the most effective and best for its citizens.  However, when this is put into practice, we don’t see this being functional.

In Louis XIV’s France, he imposed the Edict of Fontainebleau, which helped achieve his goal of ‘One King, One Law, One Faith’.  With this he unified France’s religion, but lost some of his most productive citizens, who fell to England in order to preserve their religion.

Louis XIV – one sexy dude

We can see that the idea of people working together for a common aim in a ‘social contract‘ does not always work out.  If human nature is altruistic and is motivated by helping people, or is selfish and is motivated by self-gain via cooperation, then it would stand to reason that centralized governments would work best.

However, we see from everything from school group projects to history that this is not the case.

Is it a part of human nature the prevents efficient governments and necessitates decentralized, federalist states?  Is it mankind’s inability to see the long term benefits of cooperation that hinders development?  Or is it something else entirely?

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