[artinfo] (fwd) Toward a Literacy of Cooperation

Janos Sugar sj at c3.hu
Sun Dec 5 16:00:31 CET 2004

From: Howard Rheingold <howard at rheingold.com>

Toward a Literacy of Cooperation: http://shl.stanford.edu/hum202.html
Jan 5-Mar 16

Darwin had a blind spot. It wasn't that he didn't see the role of
cooperation in evolution. He just didn't see how important it is. So
for two centuries -- a time during which the world passed from an
agrarian landscape into a global post-industrial culture of
unprecedented scale and complexity --science, society, public policy
and commerce have attended almost exclusively to the role of
competition. The stories people tell themselves about what is possible,
the mythical narratives that organizations and societies depend upon,
have been variations of "survival of the fittest." The role of
cooperation has been largely unmapped.

Now is the time to finally build this map, not because we're feeling
altruistic, but because scientists are beginning to see how cooperation
actually works in biology, sociology, mathematics, psychology,
economics, computer science and political science. And in the last two
decades, we've seen a variety of new challenges to business models that
stress competition over customers, resources, and ideas. Companies in
emerging high-tech industries learned that working with competitors
could build markets and help avoid costly standards wars. The open
source movement showed that world-class software could be built without
corporate oversight or market incentives. Google and Amazon built
fortunes by drawing on, even improving, the Internet by facilitating
and building on the collective actions of millions of web publishers
and reviewers. Thousands of volunteers have created over one million
pages of the free encyclopedia Wikipedia ñ in over 100 languages.
Collective knowledge-gathering, sharing economies, social software,
prediction markets ñ numerous experiments in technology-assisted
cooperation are taking place.

In this lecture series we want to begin to put these pieces of the
puzzle together to build a practical map of cooperative strategy,
starting with the basic social dilemma that has forever defined the
tension between self-interest and social institutions. Social dilemmas
arise when you or I act rationally... in our own self-interest...but
our individual rational acts add up to a situation in which everyone is
worse off. That is, our choices add up to less, not more.

Readings will include Peter Kollock, Elinor Ostrom, Steven Weber,
Garrett Hardin, David Reed, Bernardo Huberman, Howard Rheingold, and
many others. The class will begin with a first hand game experience. A
wiki and a blog will continue discussion and group learning online
between classes, and enable participation by others off-campus or on
the other side of the world. Guest lecturers include Jimmy Wales
(founder of Wikipedia), Peter Kollock, Bernardo Huberman, Ross Mayfield
(social software entrepreneur and one of the authors of "Emergent
Democracy,") Howard Rheingold, Zack Rosen (creator of Deanspace and
civicspace.org), and others.

Classes will be held WEDNESDAYS 4:15 pm to 5:45 pm Wallenberg Hall
(Bldg 160), Room 127. Lecture video will be streamed in real time and
available on archives. The first class will be Monday, January 5. The
syllabus and information about online participation will be available
at http://shl.stanford.edu/hum202.html by the last week in December.

We're hoping that this course will be the start of an interdisciplinary
learning network, focused on issues of cooperation and collective
action in science, public policy, business, and everyday life.

Please circulate this email, blog, post in appropriate forums.

Howard Rheingold howard at rheingold.com
http://www.rheingold.com   http://www.smartmobs.com
What it is --->is--->up to us

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