Survival of the Fittest

Written by Jeremiah Harris on February 24th, 2009

In Adrian Forsyth and Ken Miyata’s classic, Tropical Nature, the author mentions Charles Darwin’s vision.  They said: “the ‘endless forms’ that Darwin’s vision brought forth from a static world are not just the limbs and colors of the individual, but the rich and sill dimly understood relationships that thread among them.”  As we look at the progression of society in a Darwinian like manner, we can see how progression has both affected the individual and the relationships in our current economic systems.     

Although William Blake claimed that “to generalize is to be an idiot,” we are forced to do just that as we look at the relationships among the progressing individual in context of their relationships to others.  Throughout history, the average individual has progressed in his or her level of education.  This education allows the individual to be esteemed as a greater asset to the community and thus be rewarded proportionately.  As well, society has made progressions in regards to how we relate to each via technology and other means.  This has made the “relationships that thread among them” more meaningful and easier to cultivate.

We can to generalize by looking at how the same competition that led to specialized animals, also led to the progressions in the economy.  As Joseph Schumpeter discussed in Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, we can view how the concept of creative destruction leads to progression.  Similar to biological progression mentioned in Tropical Nature, the economy has progressed in the same way.  Firms or individuals have either adapted or succumbed to Darwin’s idea of the survival of the fittest.  Under normal economic conditions, firms that are failing either go bankrupt or adapt to a new market in which they can succeed.  The economy could be viewed as the evolution of individual’s relations to the whole.  


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