Mutual Aid

Mutual Aid

In this cornerstone of modern liberal social theory, Peter Kropotkin states that the most effective human and animal communities are essentially cooperative, rather than competitive. Kropotkin based this classic on his observations of natural phenomena and history, forming a work of stunning and well-reasoned scholarship. Essential to the understanding of human evolution as well as social organization, it offers a powerful counterpoint to the tenets of Social Darwinism. It also cites persuasive evidence of human nature's innate compatibility with anarchist society.
"Kropotkin's basic argument is correct," noted evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould. "Struggle does occur in many modes, and some lead to cooperation among members of a species as the best pathway to advantage for individuals." Anthropologist Ashley Montagu declared that "Mutual Aid will never be any more out of date than will the Declaration of Independence. New facts may increasingly become available, but we can already see that they will serve largely to support Kropotkin's conclusion that 'in the ethical progress of man, mutual support—not mutual struggle—has had the leading part.'" Physician and author Alex Comfort asserted that "Kropotkin profoundly influenced human biology by his theory of Mutual Aid. . . . He was one of the first systematic students of animal communities, and may be regarded as the founder of modern social ecology."

Title:Mutual Aid
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781426414596
Format Type:

    Mutual Aid Reviews

  • Miquixote

    This book cannot be overestimated in importance. It was written in response to Social Darwinism (and the horrifying excuse Social Darwinism gave for mass extermination of races), based on Kropotkin's ...

  • Bryn Hammond

    I'd only heard of him as an anarchist until I began to read about emotion & the beginnings of ethics in animals -- in such authors as Frans de Waal -- where he was always mentioned as a forerunner. On...

  • Steven Peterson

    Peter Kropotkin is one of the most noteworthy anarchist thinkers over the last two centuries. As with other political thinkers, so, too, with Kropotkin--his analysis of human nature is critical for un...

  • Stephie Jane Rexroth

    As clear, relevant and powerful as the day it was written; if not more desperately needed in our present day. Mutual aid is our evolutionary heritage and ONLY path for the future. We are not meant to ...

  • P.J. Sullivan

    Kropotkin argues that mutual aid, co-operation, solidarity with one’s neighbors, sociability, have played the leading parts in human evolution, not competition. The Darwinian struggle for survival h...

  • Justin

    This book is made up of separate essays written over several years illustrating the natural tendency to organize around institutions of mutual aid. The essays each focus on mutual aid amongst one of t...

  • Karla  Fox

    A eyeopener in today's world drunk with infallibility of individualism-in its narrow terminological sense. Kropotkin empirically debunks Darwinism, particularly social Darwinism by hundreds of example...

  • Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin

    Fairly well-written essays taken to be an antidote to the Hobbesian worldview of a war of all against all that most people assume to heart human psychology and social relations. Kropotkin argues that ...

  • Sean Sullivan

    When I used to work at Bound Together, an anarchist bookshop in San Francisco, they teased me because I had never read this book by Kropotkin (aka the anarchist formerly known as prince). The concept ...

  • Javier

    I was expecting more from this book.... I mean, I certainly appreciated Kropotkin's claims that seemed to reject a lot of what we hear about evolution (and its applications to human societies)--ie, th...