When you have a capitalistic society, to the extent that you encourage and nurture these kinds of prosocial, generative, giving attitudes, the more you will have success, not the less.
Hey, listen, for the young MBA students, there’s a study that came out not too long ago, I’m sorry to say, 80 percent of MBA students in America identify with what they call Machiavellian values. That means me first all the way. But let me tell you. If you look at where that’s gotten Wall Street, its not very impressive. You know, for many years I was a close friend of the great investor, Sir John Templeton. Sir John is mythic in the field of investment; the Templeton Funds and the like have been immensely successful. Sir John taught the love of neighbor. He treated every client with great care, with great compassion. He was the consummate Good Samaritan, if you will. He was so concerned about staff, about colleagues.
There’s every reason to think that in almost all theaters of human endeavor, education, business and the like, this kind of activity is a positive, not a negative.
I’m from Cleveland. At the beginning of a downturn in 2008, there were two car dealerships on Mayfield Road. One was Toyota, one was Honda. Business started to deteriorate and one dealership decided to do furloughs. So the salesmen and staff just took that afternoon off a week, unpaid. But everybody held on to their jobs. That’s group altruism.
Darwin appreciated the ways in which groups have to evolve compassionate, sympathetic, helping, altruistic behaviors, at least within those groups in order to survive and be successful, vis a vie, other groups.
Many people think about Darwin strictly in terms of, if you will, gladiatorial combat. Person A is in conflict with person B because they both desire some object in their environment or whatever it might be.
Stephen Post is a Professor of Preventive Medicine and the Director and Founder of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics at Stony Brook University. He was previously a professor in the School of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University and a Senior Research Scholar at the Becket Institute of St. Hugh’s College, Oxford University.
Post is also a Senior Fellow in the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University, and a Senior Advisor for the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. His research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health and the National Endowment for the Humanities. A public intellectual, Post has appeared widely on television programs such as Nightline and 20/20.