The jungle would kill Detroit

Written by Barnard on February 25th, 2009

Andrew Barnard-

“Natural selection, working for the selfish interests of each party, has resulted in a complex, finely tuned system that benefits both layers. These improbable arrangements are perhaps among the most tangible ways in which to comprehend the tremendous creative potential that resides in chance and the vast expanse of evolutionary time. ”

I would agree that it is necessary to view the free-market economic system through an evolutionary lense; to do otherwise would, in many ways, take the humanity or even the end out of the capitalist system.  Schumpeter called it “creative destruction”, the authors of Tropical Nature prefer the more pleasant “creative potential”, but either way both agree the grace and beauty of free competition is in the product.

As it says in “Eat Me”: “to attract these dispersers (consumers), a plant (producer) must stridently proclaim: “EAT ME!” Its message must be heard above the tangled visual noise of the forest and it must reward its takers well.”

In bringing the lessons of the jungle to our modern situation, it is quite obvious the Big 3 of Chrysler, GM, and Ford of failed to raise about the tangled noise of the automotive industry.  They have failed to adapt and develop a product worth the money of consumers, at least as compared to their competitors.  If Detroit was a plant in tropical nature it would have died years ago.

Schumpeter’s term of creative destruction, while not pleasant, is the most fitting.  Such a destruction need not be a call for despair however.  As the authors remind us: “There is a more tangible sense of hopefulness in seeing the matapolos of the world and marveling at the manifold ways in which the living take life from death.”

Ultimately, we can only progress by admitting, paying for, and learning from our mistakes.  There is no bailout in the jungle.


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