We are covering the idea of charity or altruism as rational or irrational. Now clearly this idea of helping others is irrational is well established in some circles. To start what is altruism? Let's ask Google.
Now many economists have argued for years that it is bad. For instance, Ayn Rand in her writings and more recently from the Ayn Rand Institute.
Last week we ended class talking about this video where the monkeys shared their gains and acted in a manner that would be seen as uneconomic (giving away nuts, caring about "fairness" etc). If you have not seen that video, I highly recommend it. (oh and please give me a juicy grape :) ) So cooperation may be useful for the species.
Here is an example not in an artificial setting.
Here is a short video on monkeys
So what can we learn from animals? And here is a longer video from Emory University:
This is not a new phenomena. The idea sacrificing for others is seemingly well ingrained in the fabric of our DNA. For instance, SBU's own Joel Bennington presented this to our class last year. It is based on the Ultimatum Game this is from a classic economist.