Can solidarity exist? Or is it just a fantasy, a pious dream of the soft of heart and weak of brain? Gross inequality, greed and prejudice: these manifestations of selfishness which stalk our world may seem to invite our condemnation and to call for an alternative – but what if they are part of the natural order? It is a widely-held presumption that our egotism is hard-wired in our nature, and that a genuinely selfless act is almost an impossibility. In a hostile review of a recent study of altruism, an American professor of humanities, Mark Hunter, wrote that an attack on capitalism is ‘an attack on human nature.’ Running counter to the liberal individualistic norm, however, research in biology and in psychology indicates that the human gene contains both selfish and altruistic tendencies.
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