Cooperation & Trust LO5656
Thu, 15 Feb 1996 13:31:36 -0800

Replying to Peter von Stackelberg in LO5616-- was Use of Metaphors

>The dynamics of cooperation have been studied in game theory for a number
>of years and I think we can begin to see how "trust" can emerge in systems
>in which there is a long-term relationship between the individual
>entities/members of that system.

I think you are on a fruitful track here. Let me put it another way.

When I think about this issue I see how theory can help us understand why
cooperation is an evolutionary strategy that has persisted and is
widespread (specially tit for tat strategies). When I follow this track
however, I have trouble making a distinction between cooperation and

Throughout the evolutionary history of life, cooperation among a huddle of
smaller units such as cells led to the emergence of more complex
structures, whether cells with nuclei or multicellular organisms. I dont
think trust was needed, just cooperation. So what distinguishes trust
from cooperation?

I find it useful to examine trust by looking at the elements required for
trust to emerge and endure. Mutual benefit is grounds for cooperation but
predictability, consistency, recurrence (i.e. a history of interactions)
are necessary for trust to emerge. Is trust an emergent property of a
history of cooperation?

Roberto Reichard


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