Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Human Glue

When groups become too big, they become abstract. The story stretched. Dunbar's number is a theory that, as people, there is a limit to our ability to develop stable social relationships. This allows 'lawless' policing functions like gossip to work. It allows a culture to develop. Insurance started as a way for groups of people to help look after each other - 'Mutual Societies'. Scottish Widowswas founded in 1812 in the coffee shops of Edinburgh by a group of men worried for the sake of widows, sisters and female relatives who could be left in poverty by the Napoleonic Wars. By spreading the risk amongst each other, 'the law of large numbers' smoothed the financial uncertainty. In order to grow, many Mutual Societies demutualized, and became companies. Over the last century, the Welfare State has also taken on the role of protecting communities. Large scale provides efficiency, but it also loses something. When care becomes a number rather than a relationship, the human glue weakens.

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