Cooperation explained to a redneck: my brother-in-law.

Card's author : Gatien Bataille
Card's type of licence : Creative Commons BY-SA
Description : A sunny Sunday in June
  • Is it OK for you ? Says my sister-in-law speacking to me and her husband.
  • Yep, we are ready. Bring the meat over, embers are ready !

While we were displaying the sausages on the grill, my brother-in-law asks :
  • So, your seminary in Sète on cooperation ?
  • It was rather nice. I was lucky to get another taste of the power of collective intelligence.
  • Sorry, but this cooperation is still a bit fuzzy for me.
  • Well, I understand... it is not obvious for me to talk about it simply. It is emergent and I have no examples of wide experiments... but it is seething each day a little bit more.
  • For me cooperating means doing things together but it seems to be so far from our society's way of going on. I doubt it concerns many people...
  • Don't me mislead, there are many initiatives rising. Even corporations are getting into it !
  • Corporations have turn to altruism now ?
  • Well, not really ! Altruism is when you forget your personal interest for collective interest. It has well-known advantages in the animal world for example but it is not as well-known on an economic level ! And anyhow, it is possible to cooperate without being altruistic.
  • Oh !
  • Yeah, it's just about converging your personal interest with the collective one.
  • Please, translate !
  • Well, it's no complicated. Generally in the long term, collective interest often meets your personal interest. But if you are roguish, this meeting can be organized in the short term. For example, here we both have an interest in not burning the sausages...
  • Nice your theory but I'd like to see on an economic level.
  • Oh, it's not so rare. More and more corporations embark on radical cooperation or on coopetition, the idea being an association between competitors to develop some aspects of tomorrow's goods and then be well ahead in the competition or on rules to come. As they say, there is more in two heads than in one...
  • Easy to say, your personal interest converging with the collective interest, I don't really understand how you can do it...
  • In fact not so tricky, we have the seeds but they need to be widly spread. For example, sharing a long-term vision helps the rising of cooperation, working on abundance is also a facilitating factor.
  • About abundance, we are undergoing a crisis, no ? I can feel rarety here !
  • Yes it's the case for material goods but if you look closer there is an increasing quantity of immaterial goods around you , these goods that we call non-rival tend to explode with the spreading of internet, computers and even 3D-printers allowing to produce material goods from digital patterns.
  • Yeah, easy in fact but what if the patterns have copyrights ?
  • There you put the finger on one of the other conditions which facilitate the cooperation. When it is not open, free use is more complicated but the arrival of open licenses greatly facilitates the work
  • And it works ?
  • Yes rather, look at thegreenxchange for example. It's an online platform where corporation – sometimes in competition – exchange and share their advances... Stunning but real !
  • Yep, I can hardly believe it...
  • You know the question is no longer whether we will go there because it is there! The world now is to complex to be understood without collective intelligence. Corporations and many others understood it. And those who forget it fail. Look at the Major Company crying their heart out with illegal copies and the benefits of itunes selling dematerialized pieces of music !
  • Well, right but...
  • It's very new, it's true... and we can guess that around this cooperation there is a lot left to invent about corresponding economical systems. Planning, just as economics, which are only keen on rarety, are not sufficient enough. We must turn towards a pattern which enhances also the value of abundance and not only rarety.
  • And while waiting ?
  • While waiting ? It innovates, and it works... Look in the world of the internet and data processing: Linux or the Web 2 freemium strategy which releases contents to finance the service or else Sésamath which produces maths books from collective courses... The crucial step to take now is the scaling.
  • And you really believe that everybody has the time to learn new stuff ?
  • It's like all the rest, cooperation takes time or on the contrary it helps you to gain some if you can mutualize. And moreover if you don't learn to cooperate, you will have to run after those who know how to use it in order to defend their interest through other's, to find economical patterns which create value by abudance and gain time mutualizing...

  • Hey guys, is it cooked ? urged my wife.
  • Yeah, it's perfect, we'll be a minute ! answers my brother in law.
While gathering the meat, I invite my brother-in-law to come along with me to the dinner table.
  • Come on, BBQ is ready ! Anyhow, cooperation always starts with a moment of friendliness !