Samuel Bowles (2010)


Samuel Bowles’s lecture was entitled “Machiavelli’s Mistake: Why Good Laws are No Substitute for Good Citizens.” The lecture was followed by a panel discussion with respondents Rachel Kranton (Economics), Kieran Healy (Sociology and the Kenan Institute for Ethics), and Ruth Grant (Political Science and Philosophy).

This event was cosponsored by the Office of the President, the Department of Economics, the Department of Sociology, and the Social Sciences Research Institute.

Samuel Bowles (Ph.D., Economics, Harvard University) is Research Professor at the Santa Fe Institute where he heads the Behavioral Sciences Program. He is also Professor of Economics at the University of Siena. He taught economics at Harvard from 1965 to 1973 and at the University of Massachusetts, where he is now emeritus professor.

His books include Microeconomics: Behavior, Institutions and Evolution (Princeton University Press, 2004), Moral Sentiments and Material Interests: the Foundations of Cooperation in Economic Life (2005), Unequal Chances: Family Background and Economic Success (2004), Poverty Traps (2006), Inequality, Cooperation and Environmental Sustainability (2005), Globalization and Egalitarian Redistribution (2006), Foundations of Human Sociality: Economic Experiments and Ethnographic Evidence in 15 Small-scale Societies (2004), and Understanding Capitalism: Competition, Command and Change (2004).

He has also served as an economic advisor to the governments of Cuba, South Africa and Greece, to presidential candidates Robert F. Kennedy and Jesse Jackson, to the Congress of South African Trade Unions and to South African President Nelson Mandela.

A Cooperative Species: Human Reciprocity and its Evolution, co-authored with Herbert Gintis, was published in 2011. Drawing on their recent research on cultural and genetic evolution and his empirical studies of behavior in smallscale societies, this work will explain why humans, unlike other animals, engage in cooperation among large numbers of people beyond the immediate family.