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Mutual Aid: A Factor Of Evolution

by Petr Kropotkin

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His most influential work. A challenge to classical Darwinism, Kropotkin argues that in nature, co-operation is as important as competition. "Kropotkin profoundly influenced human biology by his theory of Mutual Aid., propounded as a counter-blast to the social conclusions drawn from the Darwinian 'struggle for existence.' He was one of the first systematic students of animal communities, and may be regarded as the founder of modern social ecology." [Alex Comfort] "I would hold that Kropotkin's basic argument is correct." [Stephen Jay Gould]

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Sociability and need of mutual aid and support are such inherent parts of human nature that at no time of history can we discover men living in small isolated families, fighting each other for the means of subsistence. On the contrary, modern research, as we saw it in the two preceding chapters, proves that since the very beginning of their prehistoric life men used to agglomerate into gentes, clans, or tribes, maintained by an idea of common descent and by worship of common ancestors.



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