A Ray of Hope (saving the Ecosphere)

A major problem bedeviling attempts to prevent climate breakdown is the Tragedy of the Commons:  the first to prevent it is at a disadvantage.

Super Co-operators by Martin Nowak and Roger Highfield (Canongate, Edinburgh. 2011) explains how this can be avoided. This book examines The Prisoners Dilemma in much more detail than any other account I have seen, but by far its most important message is that if one. trusting, player does take the plunge, and its apparent naivete is conditional on co-operation of all others, the disadvantage, though real, should be short-lived.

Super Co-operators is a general treatise, not specifically aimed at climate breakdown, though it does claim to be relevant. But a difficulty which the book does not address is that not all players are equal. Only a major economic power could be effective alone.  The USA should be big enough, and so should China. The EU might be, if Britain could rejoin  (It would be a part of the campaign that the threat of climate catastrophe far outweighs the supposed benefits of Brexit.)

In his book The Evolution of Co-operation, (penguin, 1984) Robert Axelrod examines  the  likelihood of trust where parties expect to have future dealings. Super Co-operators goes beyond computer simulations, and further into events more likely to occur in real life.

You need to read the book for a comprehensible explanation, but It transpires that a strategy favouring the evolution of co-operation observed several times in nature is

Win, stay, lose, shift.

This is not permanently the optimum strategy, but over a long enough time scale, it is.

Biden has some formidable practical difficulties even if he has time to read Super Co-operators. China may well be currently more preoccupied with becoming the alpha economic power.

Although Jacinda Ardern’s New Zealand is too small, she does have sufficient profile to give the idea traction. Angela Merkel will shortly have time on her hands to read and advise whoever it may concern.

But there is still a huge problem.

To my mind it seems obvious that whatever is necessary even to slow the destruction of the Ecosphere will be too frightening for most unless they are guaranteed basic needs.  Until someone proposes something better, I propose an unconditional basic income.

This seem like an insight to me, and I think a lot of people with qualification far superior to mine have a blind spot (as it seems to me). But the consensus indicates that it is I who have the blind spot.

But I am desperate to save the Ecosphere. Please, all of you, read  Super Co-operators, and let me know if you think it brings salvation any nearer..

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