Wednesday, January 12, 2011
"Mutual Aid : A Factor of Evolution" by Peter Kropotkin
Text taken from the Anarchy Archives
Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution is a book by Peter Kropotkin on the subject of mutual aid, written while he was living in exile in England. It was first published by William Heinemannin London in October 1902. The individual chapters had originally been published in 1890-96 as a series of essays in the British monthly literary magazine, Nineteenth Century.
Written partly in response to Social Darwinism and in particular to Thomas H. Huxley's Nineteenth Century essay, "The Struggle for Existence", Kropotkin's book drew on his experiences in scientific expeditions in Siberia to illustrate the phenomenon of cooperation. After examining the evidence of cooperation in nonhuman animals, pre-feudal societies, in medieval cities, and in modern times, he concludes that cooperation and mutual aid are the most important factors in the evolution of the species and the ability to survive.