Monday, August 20, 2012

Is solidarity a thing of the past?

In Bottleneck Catton explains that the late 19th century French sociologist Emile Durkheim believed that the division of labor in society which resulted in heightened interdependence among humans also led inevitably to greater solidarity. Catton counters with the views of American sociologist E. A. Ross who believed that that same interdependence was leading to far more vulnerability among humans to predatory behavior from other humans. Catton leans toward Ross's view for a very important reason: Humans now labor in narrow occupational niches within our highly complex society in the same way that species occupy ecological niches in nature. This specialization leads to competition within each niche for the limited number of positions available.

Catton believes, however, that the competition among individuals in occupational niches in modern industrial society cannot be eliminated. The division of labor which has made the growth in population and the power of modern civilization possible will also be its undoing. He believes the division of labor will continue to increase alienation and predation among and between humans. And, that will make it difficult to gain consensus to act decisively in the face of the urgent challenges of climate change, resource depletion, pollution, soil degradation and the myriad problems which threaten humankind. - Kurt Cobb
Read the whole article here.

Sorry, this was the best picture I could find to illustrate the text. But do our society models empower humans anti-solidarity instincts only?

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