Has anyone reading this ever heard of the Hadza? For those that haven't, the Hadza are one of the last true hunter-gatherer societies in the world. They live in Tanzania. They are a fascinating people whose society hasn't really change since the neolithic.
One thing that scientists are very curious about is whether "modern" human behaviors exist in Hadza society. They want to understand if we act as we do because of modern living or if the behaviors are older than civilization. It has long been assumed that humans began large scale cooperation at the dawn of cities, roughly when agriculture began. The assumption goes that cooperation arose because combining everyone's harvest and then doling it out during the winter months gave everyone a better chance at surviving. This eventually allowed positions within the society to arise that did not contribute directly to survival - e.g. politicians and salesmen. However, not all agree with this vision of prehistory. Some maintain it is human nature to cooperate. Science needs to test the cooperation hypothesis and Hadza society is an excellent test subject.
The study took the form of giving each Hadza a valuable resource - honey. Honey is prized among the Hadza as it is in many so called primitive cultures. First, the study participants were asked to pick three people they'd like to be with in their next band from all the Hadza. Next, each person in the study was given three small tubes of honey. They were asked who they'd most like to share their honey with. This mapped their social structure - their Friends List as it were.
After this was done, each was given four more tubules of honey. They were then told they could keep the honey or contribute it anonymously to a communal stock pile. For every tubule in the common pile, the researchers would add two more - tripling the amount - and redistribute the stockpile equally to all. The researches designed this test to see who were the freeloaders. If a Hadza kept their four tubules and still participated in the redistribution to come they were deemed freeloaders and not cooperators. What did the Hadza do?
You can find out by reading this article: Tanzania's Hadza group sheds light on ancient social networks. See, I don't make this stuff up! Here is an NIH article as well and you can read about the actual study here.
So what does this have to do with Eve? Well, we all act this way. It is part of the human condition. Most of us cooperate and the rest are freeloaders. Now, I am not saying that all Goons are freeloaders and all carebears are cooperators. That would be as wrong as thinking all Hadza within a band were one way or the other. They aren't. There is a valid comparison though.
To make the comparison you need to know this: honey isn't the coveted resource in Eve culture (duh.) Fun is. That is what we all value. It is what we want above all else when we log in. We may call it relaxation or some other euphemism but it is all for fun. To this end, the Goons have publicly stated their idea of fun is to "ruin your game." This crass pleasure at other's expense is just like the Hadza who kept their honey and got the redistribution as well. The Goons are the Eve freeloaders, having fun by taking it from all the others.
On the other hand, this carebear's idea of fun is creating something I know will be used by others within Eve. I add to the common stockpile because I believe the reward will be greater than the sum of all the contributions. That is why this blog exists. It's part of my contribution. At it's root, I believe this is the carebear way of thinking. Within our Eve community, this is the manifestation of the cooperator.
But as interesting as all this is, what really made me say, "ah ha!" was the fact that each Hadza sought out and associated with like minded individuals - even the freeloaders. The researchers don't quite understand this dynamic but evidently freeloaders find solace with other freeloaders. That realization was my final puzzle-piece to understanding why the Goons exist.
If, as many carebears see Goons, they are anarchists bent on destroying Eve society, the Goons should have fail-cascaded long ago. They couldn't have remained organized against the pressure of their own internal motivations. But as it seems they are freeloaders, taking fun but not contributing it, they remain - sticking together like honey. And society allows freeloaders. Though they do not contribute, they also seem to do no lasting harm. That's how humans work. And though it seems counter intuitive, scientist suspect there is an as yet undiscovered alternative survival strategy behind it.
Lastly, the final make-me-raise-my-eyebrow observation that came from the Hadza study concerned the ratio of freeloaders to cooperators. It is surmised the ratio is much the same in modern society (where it is hard to quantify) as it is in Hadza society. Care to have a guess at what that ratio seems to be?
 So, to make sure everyone understands, I am not a psychologist nor do I have a degree in sociology. These observations are only my opinion. YMMV.
 And curiously, perhaps antagonizing the Goons and giving them someone to war-dec is also a contribution.
 I just couldn't resist that metaphorical pun!