Posted by: zyxo | February 28, 2008

Why do bees cooperate ?


Yesterday I wrote about the selfishness of people and the necessity of establishing a written and signed collaboration contract, otherwise people do not give away information or cooperate unless its advantageous to themselves.

How come swarm intelligence works in nature ? Do ants or bees have a collaboration contract ?

In fact in a beehive there is something weird going on.

I will try to explain.

Half of your genetic material comes form your biological father, the other half from you biological mother. But you get only half of the material of your father and half of the material of your mother, otherwise you would have twice as much as them.

This means your father is only “half” related to you, or you to him. In other words : each one of your children has half of your genetic material.

As Richard Dawkins wrote in “the selfish gene” : genes (= the building bricks of genetic material) , they use people to reproduce themselves (just like an egg uses a chicken to reproduce itself; can you tell what was first ?). Parents look after their children because they carry their genetic material.

I will not go into detail about bee genetics, you can google all that stuff, but the fact is that bee workers are not 50% related to the youngsters but 75% ! This means that it is more advantageous to look after the offspring of the queen and the males than to have offspring themselves, which would be only related for 50%.

To conclude : the fact that they do not reproduce but instead show that marvelous altruistic swarm behaviour is purely driven by genetic selfishness.

My conclusion for human cooperation within an enterprise follows the same reasoning: if you want real cooperation, you have to evaluate your employes not only on the work they produce themselves, but also on the support they give to others. Meaning that one way or another you have to measure their level of cooperation and that they know that cooperating is advantageous to themselves also and not only to the others.


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