Mancur Olsen’s “The Logic of Collective Action”

I am only to page 22 and already have a strong impulses to write! I think that Olsen has chosen a very important topic but I fear that it is intractable—I am boggled at its complexity.

Just a few days ago (2004, Sept 21?) the NYTimes had an article describing someone’s theory about the failure of Neanderthals. It was presented in the framework of Mithen’s “The Prehistory of the Mind”. It proposed that since Neanderthals were good tool makers they had developed faculties for manipulating the matter from which tools were formed. What they lacked was the ability to manipulate their fellows; they lacked the skills of leadership necessary for just the groups that Olsen is speaking of. Presumably homo sapiens had adapted their ability to manipulate tools to manipulating their fellows.