How Fear of Future Outcomes Affects Social Dynamics
Mutualistic relationships among the different species are ubiquitous in nature. To prevent mutualism from slipping into antagonism, a host often invokes a “carrot and stick” approach towards symbionts with a stabilizing effect on their symbiosis. In open human societies, a mutualistic relationship arises when a native insider population attracts outsiders with benevolent incentives in hope that the additional labor will improve the standard of all. A lingering question, however, is the extent to which insiders are willing to tolerate outsiders before mutualism slips into antagonism. To test the assertion by Karl Popper that unlimited tolerance leads to the demise of tolerance, we model a society under a growing incursion from the outside. Guided by their traditions of maintaining the social fabric and prizing tolerance, the insiders reduce their benevolence toward the growing subpopulation of outsiders but do not invoke punishment. This reduction of benevolence intensifies as less tolerant insiders (e.g., “radicals”) openly renounce benevolence. Although more tolerant insiders maintain some level of benevolence, they may also tacitly support radicals out of fear for the future. If radicals and their tacit supporters achieve a critical majority, herd behavior ensues and the relation between the insider and outsider subpopulations turns antagonistic. To control the risk of unwanted social dynamics, we map the parameter space within which the tolerance of insiders is in balance with the assimilation of outsiders, the tolerant insiders maintain a sustainable majority, and any reduction in benevolence occurs smoothly. We also identify the circumstances that cause the relations between insiders and outsiders to collapse or that lead to the dominance of the outsiders.
KeywordsGame theory Complex networks Social thermodynamics Open systems Tolerance Herd behavior
We are grateful to Robert Axelrod, Robin Dunbar, Yoh Iwasa, Jürgen Kurths, and Tomislav Lipić for helpful suggestions. B.P. and H.E.S. received support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant CMMI 1125290. B.P. also received support from the University of Rijeka. M.J. was partly supported by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) Program to Disseminate Tenure Tracking System. Z.W. was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, Grant No. 61201321 and 61471300.
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