Posted by Kirsten Gibbs Last updated 21st September 2021 reading time
I love my cat. She doesn’t love me back.
All she’s really interested in is food and sleep. And every now and then, a bit of attention – on her terms, when and where she wants it, never when I do. She’s lazy, greedy and selfish. She is ‘Cattus Economicus’.
She can’t help it, cats, like most mammals, have evolved that way.
But not us humans. Somewhere in our distant past, we evolved new instincts of collaboration, co-operation, altruism. Because we needed those traits to survive.
‘Homo Economicus’ is a convenient fiction, that tells us more about the economists and politicians who use it than the people they like to apply it to. In their eyes, you and I and most of the people we know are less than human, to be treated is if all we care about is food and sleep.
We know better. We know that we collaborate, co-operate and help each other out all the time. We know that we need to exercise these pro-social instincts more than ever if we are to solve the pressing problems our species faces.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead.