What distinguishes a society from just a bunch of people living together?

Answer: Cooperation

It is cooperation that distinguishes a society from just a bunch of people living together.

What is cooperation?

Cooperation is contributing to the common good (sometimes at the expense of one’s own self-interest).

For example, when you volunteer to take an “action item” at a meeting you are doing so not in your own self-interest, but rather in the interest of the group.  You are cooperating.

Contributing to a charity is another example of cooperating.  It doesn’t benefit you, but it benefits society as a whole.

Cooperation, on both a small and large scale permeates any healthy society.  It is what distinguishes a society from just a bunch of people living together.

— The above is a summary of a portion of The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki

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