Humankind: A Hopeful History – Busting the myth of our innate selfishness

Book review: Rutger Bregman convincingly rejects capitalist assumptions about behaviour, says Fintan O'Toole

Lord of the Flies quickly dissolves into power games, bullying, tribalism and murder

Lord of the Flies quickly dissolves into power games, bullying, tribalism and murder

In 2005, when Hurricane Katrina destroyed much of New Orleans, the city was taken over by roving gangs, who proceeded to kill, rape and loot at will. Inside the Superdome where 25,000 people were trapped without food, water or electricity, children had their throats cut. When helicopters came to the rescue, snipers fired on them.

As Timothy Garton Ash wrote in the Guardian “Remove the elementary staples of organised, civilised life ... and we go back within hours to a Hobbesian state of nature, a war of all against all ... A few become temporary angels, most revert to being apes.”

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