The following segment is about a socioeconomic system that existed for the past 300 years, it is referred to as Capitalism. For more perspectives on the functions of that system, you may refer to my previous article on Capitalism here.
Appeal to nature is an old trope that has been present to justify Capitalism, Feudalism, and Slavery for as long as they existed. Aristotle and Plato believed that the division of slaves and Masters were characteristics inherent within “human nature”, which not only meant that slavery was permissible but necessary to maintain order in our world; anything out of line would be complete chaos.
Today, this is laughable. Ultimately, with all the negative traits that may be present within humanity, we wouldn’t cite those traits as justification to restore such economic systems; having already witnessed that negative traits in humanity do not inevitably lead to equally negative human errors in every other system.
It turns out that some economic systems lead to overall greater satisfaction and outcomes than others, regardless of what human nature is or isn’t.
Rejecting change on the premise that “it will inevitably be destroyed by human nature” is fallacious even if we were to assume that humanity is downright sociopathic, since working to advance our socioeconomic conditions (By abandoning Feudalism) already proved to be worthy regardless of all human flaws.
Even if we were to assume hierarchies are naturally inevitable, it would precisely bring upon a need to remove injustice from hierarchy as much as possible; as we once have. Anything less could also be an argument for the restoration fascism, feudalism or slavery on the premise that “hierarchy is inevitable” as well.
Assuming that human behavior under Capitalism is rooted in the natural characteristics of human beings by observing human behavior – specifically under Capitalism, would be fallacious in and of itself.
It is the equivalent of drawing conclusions on human nature from social behaviors under Feudalism, and to assume their behaviors are responses to “Human Nature”; rather than to Feudalism itself, or to “human nature” rather than the economics of slavery that preceded it; both of which were also arguments made to justify the presence of the dominant structures of their time.
This is why appeal to nature is generally regarded as a logical fallacy in our day and age. Capitalism is not a byproduct of philosophers and biologists who met in a boardroom to discuss the most favorable system for humanity. Like feudalism, it is the byproduct of an oligarchy that persists to maintain their position.
If we were to insist on discussing socioeconomics from a naturalist perspective, the odds are not in favor of Capitalism either. Likewise, alternatives are also justified with naturalist arguments.
An overwhelming majority of biologists perceive cooperation and Mutualism to be the essence of growth and survivability and argue that is far more vital for our survival than the hoarding of resources and competition. Starting with Charles Darwin, who first noted that cooperation was a potential error in his observation of Natural Selection, then concluded that natural selection favor species which display cooperative behaviors (dogs, elephants, baboons, pelicans, etc) over non-cooperating species in the “Descent of Man (1871)”.
“it hardly seems probable that the number of men gifted with such virtues [as bravery and sympathy] … could be increased through natural selection, that is, by the survival of the fittest.”. “Those communities which included the greatest number of the most sympathetic members would flourish best and rear the greatest number of offspring.”
This position was later supported by other scientists, such as Peter Kroptokin, who rejected Capitalism and argued for cooperative functions among humans on the basis that “it was an evolutionary emphasis on cooperation instead of competition in the Darwinian sense that made for the success of species, including the human” in “Mutual Aid: A Factor in Evolution (1902)”. These observations came from the study of ants, birds, mammals, and humans alike. More recent studies concluded that cooperation is both more likely and favorable to humans than competition.
These observations came from the study of ants, birds, mammals, and humans alike. More recent studies concluded that cooperation is both more likely and favorable to humans than competition.
These observations still live on today. For example: A 2016 empirical experiment that confirmed “that cooperation, not struggle for survival (Free market Capitalism) is the driving force to evolution”, and 2017 paper titled “Why to cooperate is better than to compete” with the same conclusion.
Similar results were shown in a joint study by Harvard and Yale in 2012, on whether humans instinctively act selfishly or cooperatively concluded that cooperative behavior is more in line with our “natural instinct” than competitiveness (Source: Scientific American).
These could all be proposed as arguments to why Workers’ Cooperatives are in fact “more natural” than Capitalist enterprises.