What is cooperation?

We explain what cooperation is and what cooperation consists of as a value. What is biological and international cooperation.

  1. What is cooperation?

When we talk about cooperation, we refer to a concept applicable to numerous areas of human life and in general, related to the sum of efforts between several individuals or groups of individuals to achieve a common goal , from which everyone then benefits. This concept has been the object of study from various disciplines of human knowledge, such as biology , anthropology , economics , etc.

In fact, there is a Theory of cooperation, developed by researchers such as Robert Axelrod and Martin Nowak , among others, which stipulates that there are four essential conditions for cooperation between two individuals to occur:
  • Overlapping desires, that is, that both share an attainable goal.
  • Probability of future meetings between the two, that is, the possibility of a future relationship.
  • Positive memories of past encounters between both individuals.
  • A value associated with future results, that is, that the result is so important that cooperation is desirable or tolerable.

Cooperation is thus the opposite of competition or competition , in which two or more individuals face and compete for a profit.

  1. Cooperation as a value

Cooperation - Teamwork
Cooperation fosters solidarity and teamwork.

Cooperation is, in most cultures , a social and ethical value , that is, an appreciable and valued behavior . The teamwork , for example, is encouraged from an early age and throughout formal schooling, besides being indispensable for the exercise of politics , for a peaceful society and even to practice many sports . In that sense, people willing to cooperate and solidarity tend to be valued, perhaps because selfishness and individualism seem to be intrinsic to human nature.

Numerous ideological, political and even religious doctrines support cooperation in various areas of human life as the behavior to be promoted, as a way to establish dynamics of greater solidarity and greater equality of opportunities for all people . The funny thing is that, at the same time, we live in a dynamic of free commercial competition, given that the capitalist system operates on the basis that sellers compete for the purchase or consumers for a scarce product .

  1. Biological cooperation

In the natural world, cooperation is also frequent. It can occur between individuals of the same or different species , always for mutual benefit, either by protecting themselves from predators, feeding back their metabolisms , exchanging defense for food , etc. Depending on the conditions in which it occurs, we can talk about:

  • Mutualism . When both species obtain benefits from their interaction, such as mycorrhizae: fungi that make life between the roots of a tree, obtaining nutrients from it and giving it water reserves in return.
  • Commensalism . When cooperation is involuntary on the part of either of the two species, that is, that the benefit is for only one, but does not cause any kind of damage in exchange for the other. It is what happens with the remoras that adhere to the shark to be transported more quickly, without causing any damage in the process.
  • Symbiosis. When the cooperation is so close that it becomes practically dependent, since both agencies require the other to live. This is what happens with the bacterial flora in our intestines: hundreds of species of bacteria make life inside us and help us digest and process the food, to such an extent that we could not do it equally well without them.
  1. International cooperation

International cooperation
International cooperation is based on sensitive and vital issues.

International cooperation or cooperation between countries is a form of charity between states , which aims to meet the needs of each in a way that benefits them both, or that provides them with mutual opportunities that the rest of their international relations. In other words, countries, like agencies, require allies to survive, and such alliances are raised through international cooperation treaties, among other pacts.

Thus, instead of competing and impoverishing the living conditions of their citizens , States can generally cooperate to establish a minimum framework for commercial, economic, social, cultural or whatever type of exchange , which does not rule out that there is any between them. a set of “free” business relationships, that is, free and objective competition.

International cooperation usually occurs around sensitive and vital issues , such as humanitarian and / or ecological crises, military alliances, cooperation in legal, judicial or cultural terms, when not the construction of common laws that allow narrower degrees of mutual benefit.

  1. Economic cooperation

Economic cooperation is a concept that encompasses various models of interaction between organizations, between states and even between individuals, to sustain a commercial or financial exchange with the necessary flexibility and consensus to allow and encourage the strengthening of the economies of both countries. This avoids competing and damaging the other’s economy, guaranteeing, among other things, the duration of peace between the two nations; remember that wars always have economic motivations behind.

At the same time, the figure of the Cooperative is noteworthy here, since it has emerged since the nineteenth century as a mode of economic-productive association that, although it has a profit, does not subject its members to the rigors of competitiveness of the market, but instead offers a dynamic of mutual support and solidarity that escapes the fierce dynamics of capitalism.

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