Social Dilemmas, Economic Self-Interest, and Evolutionary Theory

  • Robyn M. Dawes
Part of the Recent Research in Psychology book series (PSYCHOLOGY)


Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” passage is one of the most quoted in social theory. It reads:

As every individual, therefore, endeavors as much as he can both to employ his capital in the support of domestic industry, and so to direct that industry that its produce may be of greatest value; every individual necessarily labours to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can. He generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.


Group Identity Social Dilemma Inclusive Fitness Side Payment Cooperation Rate 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1991

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  • Robyn M. Dawes

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