Wed 14 Jan 2009
News is making the rounds about the untimely death of Peter Kollock in a motorcycle accident. I never met him, but I gained so much from his insightful scholarship around trust and public goods. More importantly, people who knew him thought the world of him, and can't say enough about his intelligence and generosity as a friend and scholar. These thoughts from Marc Smith:
I share the loss of Peter Kollock with the many people who knew him. Peter died Saturday after a motorcycle accident near his home. Many people in the social sciences and beyond have been influenced by Peter’s works of scholarship, teaching, mentorship, entreprenurship and friendship.
Peter had a big impact on his many students at UCLA and the larger academic community that built on his scholarship. A lecture from Peter was a great thing that left his audiences feeling both smarter and challenged with a whole new landscape of choices. Peter brought many people to a better appreciation of the issues of cooperation and conflict, collective action and common goods, of trust and deception in risky transactions. He made it clear how most of our biggest challenges on this planet are cooperation dilemmas. He gave many of his students the inspiration to think that conflicts could be resolved and cooperation sustained by leveraging insights from studies of these situations. His was the only class I ever took that proved mathematically that it paid to be good to other people, even if there were short term costs. He saw early on the importance of communication networks to change the landscape of cooperation and collective action. His scholarship extended to the very real world of high tech entrepreneurship- building tools for markets on the Internet.
My thoughts are with his family and friends who appreciate the great presence Peter had.
I am shocked by his loss and will miss him deeply.