We’ve been told, again and again, that life is unfair. But what if we’re wrong simply to resign ourselves to this situation? What if we have the power—and more, the duty—to change society for the better?
We do. And our very nature inclines us to do so. That’s the provocative argument Peter Corning makes in The Fair Society. Drawing on the evidence from our evolutionary history and the emergent science of human nature, Corning shows that we have an innate sense of fairness. While these impulses can easily be subverted by greed and demagoguery, they can also be harnessed for good. Corning brings together the latest findings from the behavioral and biological sciences to help us understand how to move beyond the Madoffs and Enrons in our midst in order to lay the foundation for a new social contract—a Biosocial Contract built on a deep understanding of human nature and a commitment to fairness. He then proposes a sweeping set of economic and political reforms based on three principles of fairness—equality, equity, and reciprocity—that together could transform our society and our world.
At this crisis point for capitalism, Corning reveals that the proper response to bank bailouts and financial chicanery isn’t to get mad—it’s to get fair.
Peter A. Corning is director of the Institute for the Study of Complex Systems. He is the author of The Synergism Hypothesis and Nature's Magic, among other books. He blogs at thefairsociety.net.
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