Scarcity of resources – compete or cooperate?

A different kind of post from the recent investment focused posts … this article was very hard to ignore http://theconversation.com/how-climate-change-caused-the-worlds-first-ever-empire-to-collapse-109060

First off, I have not fact checked this to great degree yet am assuming that the basic gist is factual – there were extreme climate conditions that created scarcity of necessary resources, i.e., food and water. The refugee migrations then started and the people of the destination (who had food and water) built a long wall to keep the refugees out; effectively letting them starve and die off.

The parallel to today’s political conversation is striking, and there is a vector of cultural evolution that I find interesting. When confronted with resource scarcity, cultures can either fight to protect their piece of a shrinking pie or cooperate and produce a bigger pie. Cooperation leads to innovation; innovation leads to step function increases in the size of the pie. If one overlays Darwinist survival on this dichotomy, are we as a species still struggling with these two response modes as to which will best advance our culture and species, even after 4000 years per the referenced article?

I am, of course, over simplifying the dramatic contrast between a “us / them” competitive and a “we” cooperative cultural perspective when confronting resource scarcity. I am strongly attracted to cooperation and repulsed by competition … and believe that cooperation is the better mode for a richer future.