It is clear that there are many levels of influence on how humans behave.
Broadly speaking there are two basic modalities, with infinite possible gradations between.
If we have enough resources, humans have many genetic and cultural incentives to be highly cooperative in large groups.
If there are insufficient resources, any human being can be cooperative with smaller groups, and very competitive out of group. Under extreme duress group size can be 1.
Which modality tends to express is very context sensitive, and varies considerably with all individuals over time and context.
Axelrod showed long ago that to be stable, cooperation requires attendant strategies to prevent over-run by “cheating strategies”. We have many levels of those, genetic, cultural, recursively logical.
Our biggest issue is the very concept of money, and market exchange. It was entirely appropriate and useful when most things were genuinely scarce, but with exponential advances in automation and systems complexity, we can now deliver universal abundance of all the essentials of life, and the greatest impediment to that is the incentive set present resulting from accepting exchanges values (money) as having worth. You need to go deeper than any of the links provided, to see that exchange values (market values) are founded in scarcity. Anything universally abundant has no exchange value. Therefore market systems cannot ever, of their own internal incentive structures, deliver universal abundance of anything (they are strongly incentivised to remove any universal abundance that does exist – to provide a marketable scarcity).
Elites are playing their games, and many of them are as much pawns in those games as the rest of us.
I agree, that we have the technical capacity to deliver freedom to everyone, in a way that has never previously been possible. And all freedom comes with responsibility.
Enjoyed your writing, as always, Joe.