A Few good Altruists

I was reading a section in my New Scientist last night which made me smile with the conclusions.

It was a minute interview with author of “The Art of Meditation”, Matthieu Ricard and the subject was at first the science of meditation and the studies showing greater self control, focus and compassion in people who have trained to meditate. But it’s the last part I want to quote:

At the conference in Zurich in April, will be some bold economists who can demonstrate that altruists are able to influence global markets. In the past, such studies were often refuted by sceptical financial analysts. However, someone like Ernst Fehr, the famous Swiss economist, will show that if altruists make the rules and it is in the interests of selfish people to cooperate, then society can function in a more cooperative way.

Of course we in the FLOSS community will be familiar with this kind of relationship. With altruistic people setting the rules, people like Stallman and others who sacrifice for their principles of social progress, and then those that use those altruistic rules as selfish mechanisms, people like Torvalds. (although I’m stretching that point a bit, they’re both fairly altruistic in and selfish in their own way)

Perhaps this is what makes FOSS so progressive, that it is invented by those who want to see people (not themselves) have freedom, better software, more computer power etc and it’s then the selfish people that run with it.

Your thoughts?