The Two Sides of Warfare
- 664 Downloads
Building on and partially refining previous theoretical work, this paper presents an extended simulation model of ancestral warfare. This model (1) disentangles attack and defense, (2) tries to differentiate more strictly between selfish and altruistic efforts during war, (3) incorporates risk aversion and deterrence, and (4) pays special attention to the role of brutality. Modeling refinements and simulation results yield a differentiated picture of possible evolutionary dynamics. The main observations are: (a) Altruism in this model is more likely to evolve for defenses than for attacks. (b) Risk aversion, deterrence, and the interplay of migration levels and brutality can change evolutionary dynamics substantially. (c) Unexpectedly, one occasional simulation outcome is a dynamically stable state of “tolerated intergroup theft,” raising the question as to whether corresponding patterns also exist in real intergroup conflicts. Finally, possible implications for theories of the coevolution of bellicosity and altruism in humans are discussed.
KeywordsIntergroup conflict Cooperation Public goods Altruism Warfare
I thank Max Albert, Charlotte Störmer, Eckart Voland, and Human Nature’s anonymous reviewers for very valuable criticism. Prudent copy-editing by Mary June-el Piper is gratefully acknowledged. This publication represents a component of my doctoral thesis (Dr. rer. nat.) in the Faculty of Biology at the Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Germany.
- Gebre-Michael, Y., Hadgu, K., & Ambaye, Z. (2005). Addressing pastoralist conflict in Ethiopia: The case of the Kuraz and Hamer sub-districts of South Omo zone. Saferworld. http://www.saferworld.org.uk/resources/view-resource/106. Accessed 9 July 2013.
- Goodall, J. (1986). The chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of behavior. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Keeley, L. H. (1996). War before civilization: The myth of the peaceful savage. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Mason, W. A., & Mendoza, S. P. (1993). Primate social conflict. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
- Rusch, H. (2014). A threshold for biological altruism in public goods games played in groups including kin. MAGKS Joint Discussion Paper Series in Economics, No. 29-2014.Google Scholar
- Smirnov, O., Arrow, H., Kennett, D., & Orbell, J. (2007). Ancestral war and the evolutionary origins of “Heroism.” Journal of Politics, 69, 927–940.Google Scholar
- Tooby, J., & Cosmides, L. (2010). Groups in mind: The coalitional roots of war and morality. In H. Høgh-Olesen (Ed.), Human morality and sociality: Evolutionary and comparative perspectives (pp. 191–234). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar