Cooperation is the process of groups of organisms working or acting together for their common/mutual benefit, as opposed to working in competition for selfish benefit. Many animal and plant species cooperate both with other members of their own species and with members of other species (symbiosis or mutualism). Language allows humans to cooperate on a very large scale.
- Widely dispersed knowledge concerning the important role of basic cooperative processes among living beings may lead to the acceptance of cooperation as a guiding principle both in social theory and as a basis for human behavior. Such a development when it occurs will alter the course of human history.
- W. C. Allee, Cooperation among Animals with Human Implications (1951), page 213 (cited in Lee Alan Dugatkin, "The Altruism Equation" (2006), p. 58).
- Unity, peace and security will come through the recognition—intelligently assessed—of the evils which have led to the present world situation, and then through the taking of those wise, compassionate and understanding steps which will lead to the establishing of right human relations, to the substitution of cooperation for the present competitive system, and by the education of the masses in every land as to the nature of true goodwill and its hitherto unused potency.
Sharing and cooperation must be taught instead of greed and competition.
- Alice Bailey in Problems Of Humanity, Chapter VI - The Problem of International Unity (1944)
- What at this moment appears to prevent world unity... ? The answer is not hard to find and involves all nations: nationalism, capitalism, competition, blind stupid greed. The mass of men need arousing to see that good comes to all men alike and not just to a few privileged groups, and to learn also that "hatred ceases not by hatred but that hatred ceases by love". This love is not a sentiment, but practical goodwill, expressing itself through individuals, in communities and among nations... The world economic council (or whatever body represents the resources of the world) must free itself from fraudulent politics, capitalistic influence and its devious scheming; it must set the resources of the earth free for the use of humanity. This will be a lengthy task but it will be possible when world need is better appreciated. An enlightened public opinion will make the decisions of the economic council practical and possible. Sharing and cooperation must be taught instead of greed and competition.
- Alice Bailey, Problems Of Humanity, Chapter VI - The Problem of International Unity (1944)
- I watched on TV when America sent men to the moon, and there were a lot of people whose names weren't given who helped make it possible. You don't have the names of those who run the computers and other things. But they worked together and this is what you have to have ... Chinese, American, Jewish, black and white, people working side by side. [...] We must all live together and work together no matter what race or nationality. If you have an opportunity to accomplish something that will make things better for someone coming behind you, and you don't do that, you are wasting your time on this earth.
- Roberto Clemente, from his Tris Speaker Memorial Award acceptance speech, January 29, 1971, including both the bolded excerpt seen here and a lesser-known version of his famous "wasting your time on this earth" warning ✱; as quoted, respectively, in "800 Turn Out for Baseball Dinner" by Joe Heiling, in The Houston Post (January 30, 1971), p. 1-B, and "Standing Cheer for Roberto" by Houston Chronicle sportswriter John Wilson, in The Sporting News (February 20, 1971), p. 44 ✱ To access the other version, see Achievement.
- In previous ages a nation's life and culture could be protected to some extent by the growth of armies in national competition. Today we must abandon competition and secure cooperation. This must be the central fact in all our considerations of international affairs; otherwise we face certain disaster.
- Albert Einstein; reported in Michael Amrine, "The Real Problem is in the Hearts of Man", New York Times Magazine (23 June 1946).
- No nation's security and well-being can be lastingly achieved in isolation but only in effective cooperation with fellow-nations.
- Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as cooperation with good.
Non-co-operation is a protest against an unwitting and unwilling participation in evil...
The duty of non-co-operation with unjust men and kings is as strictly enjoined by all the religions as is the duty of co-operation with just men and kings.
At times non-cooperation becomes as much a duty as cooperation. No one is bound to co-operate in one's own undoing or slavery.
I cooperate with all that is good. I desire to non-cooperate with all that is evil...
My non-co-operation has its root not in hatred, but in love... My non-cooperation, though it is part of my creed, is a prelude to co-operation. My non-co-operation is with methods and systems, never with men.
- What we now know is that the economics that made me so rich isn't just wrong, it's backwards, because it turns out it isn't capital that creates economic growth, it's people; and it isn't self-interest that promotes the public good, it's reciprocity; and it isn't competition that produces our prosperity, it's cooperation. What we can now see is that an economics that is neither just nor inclusive can never sustain the high levels of social cooperation necessary to enable a modern society to thrive.
- Rule four: greed is not good. Being rapacious doesn't make you a capitalist, it makes you a sociopath. And in an economy as dependent upon cooperation at scale as ours, sociopathy is as bad for business as it is for society.
- We are ready to expand the friendly people-to-people exchanges and enhance exchanges and cooperation in science, technology, culture, education, and other areas... Enhanced interactions and cooperation between China and the United States serve the interests of our two peoples and are conducive to world peace and development. We should stay firmly rooted in the present while looking ahead to the future, and view and approach China-U.S. relations from a strategic and long-term perspective... We should, on the basis of the principles set forth in the three Sino-U.S. joint communiqués, respect each other as equals and promote closer exchanges and cooperation. This will enable us to make steady progress in advancing constructive and cooperative China-U.S. relations, and bring more benefits to our two peoples and people of the world... We are ready to work with the U.S. side in a spirit of seeking mutual benefit and win-win outcomes to properly address each other's concerns and facilitate the sound and the steady growth of bilateral economic cooperation and trade. We are ready to expand the friendly people-to-people exchanges and enhance exchanges and cooperation in science, technology, culture, education, and other areas.
- If you believe that all living beings are family, you will treat them in a different way than if you think the natural world is a resource to be exploited. If you think other humans are inherently cooperative, you’ll approach a person differently than if you think that, ultimately, everyone is selfish and competitive. If you presume that technology can fix our biggest problems, you won’t feel the need to consider the underlying systems that caused those problems to arise in the first place.
- Like fish that don’t realize they’re swimming in water because it’s all they know, we tend to assume that our worldview simply describes the world the way it is—rather than recognizing it’s a constructed lens that shapes our thoughts and ideas into certain preconditioned patterns...
The reason a worldview is so important is that it imbues virtually every aspect of the way people think, what they value, and how they act—without them even realizing it. Worldviews lead different cultures to respond to their reality in fundamentally different ways. If you believe that all living beings are family, you will treat them in a different way than if you think the natural world is a resource to be exploited. If you think other humans are inherently cooperative, you’ll approach a person differently than if you think that, ultimately, everyone is selfish and competitive. If you presume that technology can fix our biggest problems, you won’t feel the need to consider the underlying systems that caused those problems to arise in the first place.
- It is evident that many great and useful objects can be attained in this world only by co-operation. It is equally evident that there cannot be efficient cooperation if men proceed on the principle that they must not cooperate for one object unless they agree about other objects.
- Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay, Gladstone on Church and State (1851), p. 18.
- The striving towards a true cooperation lies at the foundation of evolution. Only by the awakening of creativeness may the march of ignorance be destroyed... Instead of stock market speculation let there be striving for discoveries, supported by cooperative societies... I teach the useful when the indicated and cognized cooperation has been accepted and entered into... I wish to see cooperation not on paper and in assurances, but in action. It is right not to speak about love but to show it in action...
- Morya, Leaves of Morya’s Garden II (1925)
- Cooperation must be based upon sound rules. This teaches orderliness; that is, it helps the acquirement of a rhythm. Thus even in daily work are expressed the great laws of the Universe. It is especially needed to become accustomed from childhood to continuous labor. Let the better evolution be built upon labor as the measure of value. Labor must be voluntary. Cooperation must be voluntary.
- Morya, New Era Community (1926)
- All social cooperation on a larger scale than the most intimate social group requires a measure of coercion.
- Reinhold Niebuhr, Moral Man and Immoral Society: A Study of Ethics and Politics 1932.
- Anarchism is not compelled to outline a complete organization of a free society. To do so with any assumption of authority would be to place another barrier in the way of coming generations. The best thought of today may become the useless vagary of tomorrow, and to crystallize it into a creed is to make it unwieldy. We judge from experience that man is a gregarious animal, and instinctively affiliates with his kind co-operates, unites in groups, works to better advantage, combined with his fellow men than when alone. This would point to the formation of co-operative communities, of which our present trades-unions are embryonic patterns.
- Cooperation is difficult in the absence of communication.
- Joseph Nye, Understanding International Conflicts - An Introduction to Theory and History (Sixth Edition), Chapter 1, Is There an Enduring Logic of Conflict in World Politics?, p. 16.
- The history of all peoples is full of bloody and revolting pages. So much blood has been spilled for every new construction, every new teaching or religion! That is why humanity urgently must learn the two great concepts — Tolerance and Cooperation. On these two foundations the New Epoch will be built.
- Helena Roerich, Letters I, 6 June 1935 »
- Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point and no further, but cooperation, which is the thing we must strive for today, begins where competition leaves off.
- Perfectionism, no less than isolationism or imperialism or power politics, may obstruct the paths to international peace. Let us not forget that the retreat to isolationism a quarter of a century ago was started not by a direct attack against international cooperation but against the alleged imperfections of the peace.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt, annual message to Congress on the State of the Union (January 6, 1945). The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1944–45 (1950), p. 498.
- وَتَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى ٱلْبِرِّ وَٱلتَّقْوَىٰ ۖ وَلَا تَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى ٱلْإِثْمِ وَٱلْعُدْوَانِ
- The US is a force for division, not for cooperation... It's a force for trying to create a new cold war with China. If this takes hold - if that kind of approach is used, then we won't go back to normal, indeed we will spiral into greater controversy and greater danger in fact.
- Jeffrey Sachs, quoted in US China cold war 'bigger global threat than virus, BBC News (21 June 2020)
- Cooperation is an evolutionary riddle, as it defies the basic principles of natural selection. If during the course of evolution only the fittest survive, why should one sacrifice individual fitness for the benefit of unrelated others? Widespread cooperation in nature is indeed one of the most important challenge to Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection. Understanding the evolution of cooperation means understanding also the main evolutionary transitions that led from single-cell organisms to complex animal and human societies, and it is therefore little surprising that the subject consistently attracts attention across large contingents of social and natural sciences.
- Attila Szolnoki and Matjaz Perc, "Evolution of extortion in structured populations" (2014)
- Our species will not survive another 100 years if we don’t move from a competitive to a cooperative mode of existence. “Me first” is an obsolete, unsustainable perspective.
- Action research
- Collective responsibility
- Collective action
- Common good
- Direct action
- Grassroots movement
- Mutual aid (organization theory)
- Nash equilibrium
- Prisoner's dilemma
- Rule of law