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A Paradise Built in Hell

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Bollier, David
Date: 2010
Agency: On the Commons
Series:
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/5971
Sector: Social Organization
Region:
Subject(s): human behavior
self-organization
natural disasters
Abstract: "Anyone who sees the world through the lens of economics is likely to see humanity as an unruly mass of selfish individuals clamoring for as much as they can. It’s a dog-eat-dog jungle that is only constrained by the rule of law and government. How is it possible, then, that human beings are capable of such spontaneous altruism, resourcefulness and joy when faced with disaster? Why, in the midst of earthquakes and fires, do people so intuitively self-organize themselves into communities of mutual aid, opening their hearts to utter strangers and sharing each other’s burdens and joys? Why, in short, are we so often exemplary people under the most horrific conditions when 'normal life' finds us alienated from each other and locked into our self-made shells of grievances, prejudices and human disconnection?"

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