« Mulitculturism and Veils in France | Main | Bonobos »

“Free Riders�

In class we looked at the “prisoner’s Dilemma�- where two suspects are arrested, the police don’t have enough evidence to convict and the two suspects are better off defecting no matter what the other prisoner does. In my social theory class we talked about sociologist such as Peter Blau and other exchange theorist who point out that individual are agents, they seek pleasure, profit or prestige, and they might be a free rider-trying to get their own way-. Through exchange, we learn what works and what doesn’t, interaction is rational, we might be looking out for our own interest and pleasure.

As we looked upon the “prisoner’s Dilemma�, it was said that- the rational strategy for individual is to be selfish, the rational strategy, collectively, is to cooperate but the more others cooperate, the more it pays to defect. So if it is better to be a “free rider�, why do we cooperate? And how do we know others would cooperate? Steven Pinker states that “the best way to convince a skeptic that you are trustworthy and generous is to be trustworthy and generous.� (259) Is this the right approach? If we all act in this way, how can we trust one another?