Saturday, November 7, 2009

Evolutionary Economics

Biomimicry should be applied to Economics

Every fisherman in Tsukiji fish market (築地市場 Tsukiji shijō) in Tokyo knows that the fight to the top, in a non productive way, is the worst thing one should do in order not to be eaten.

Leia este artigo em Português

Portunus Trituberculatus, the GAZAMI crab is a Japanese blue crab that is also the most widely consumed species of crab in the world, with over 300,000 tonnes being caught annually the GAZAMI is the best example of nature’s contraproducent behavior. The lack of success of this crab is due to an apparent inherited selfish attitude.Gazami demonstrate some intelligence and are even capable of communicate by drumming or waving their pincers. They are aware about themselves and others.  It is well known that if you put a bunch of GAZAMI crabs in a barrel they would never be able to leave. When one nears the top of the barrel, approaching his escape, one of the other crabs reaches the mate and pulls the crab back down. Another one goes up, and he or she is also pulled up to fall.  This process continues and the only way for them to escape from the barrel is to be sold to someone with lunch or dinner intentions.
Markets are the perfect non-biased teachers of self-reflection and discipline as well as evolution. Studying attitudes of animals like that we could understand our own nature and also learn how to keep up with our social lives. Termites in other hand are proliferating worldwide, and differently from GAZAMI crabs, they are capable of helping each other, looks like they live by the motto “Create more prosperity in the life of others and you shall experience more prosperity in your own life”.
David M. Raup, a biologist at the University of Chicago, identifies in his book "Bad Genes or Bad Look?" that everything about extinction that we thought was true is wrong. The author’s main thesis is that extinction is a mostly random event; due to catastrophes and bad luck, and not related to the process of evolution itself.
There is an interesting but naive chapter in the book on the relation of extinction to industries. Raup argues that most of the companies around today were not in existence 50 years ago, and the cause of their disappearance, merger or bankruptcy corresponds to the causes of species disappearance or phyletic transformation. The author draws parallels between such things as that the total number of companies names was lower 50 years ago, just as biodiversity was less, and that certain industries wax and wane just as species do.
Comparing the extinction of ancient species and old companies brings few points into consideration:1 - Species are temporary but the energy manifested in individuals and markets carries on beyond the gradual understanding of science and reason. (Corporate) death is nothing but an opportunity. Time is nothing but a hubristic attempt to contemplate the unknown;2 - Individual entities, while susceptible to a variety of ills, are more inclined to survive attacks based on the presumption that assumes a large group is present and available to be taken out with the first strike. Less mass = Less possible chance of extinction;3 - Diversification in multiple markets should prove a trusted strategy?4 - Extinction would have taken its toll on multiple organisms, yet somehow these organisms were allowed endure.
Evolutionary economics is a heterodox school of economic thought that is inspired by evolutionary biology. Much like mainstream economics, it stresses complex interdependencies, competition, growth, structural change, and resource constraints. Joseph Alois Schumpeter (8 February 1883 – 8 January 1950) was one of the predecessor of evolutionary economics, economist and political scientist born in Moravia, then Austria-Hungary, now Czech Republic. Schumpeter wrote “Theorie der wirtschaftlichen Entwicklung” translated as The Theory of Economic Development (Entwicklung also means Evolution).In Schumpeter's book he proposed an idea radical for its time: The evolutionary perspective. He based his theory on the assumption of usual macroeconomic equilibrium, which is something like "the normal mode of economic affairs". Both economics and evolution employ the notion of optimization, whether optimization of the profit, of a business, or optimization of species for its environmental niche.Howard Aldrich, Geoffrey Hodgson, David Hull, Thorbjoern Knudsen, Joel Mokyr, Viktor Vanberg and others have argued that the general Darwinian principles of variation, inheritance and selection should be applied to social as well as biological entities, despite important detailed differences in the mechanisms and processes involved.Maybe in the future Artificial Intelligence and paleontology would work together in a model that simulates fluctuation of the markets comparing companies to extinct and living animals.

Perhaps Google could base its strategy on algorithms using as a base the events that lead Dimetrodon to evolve into mammals (the large sail at the back of the Dimetrodon which gave rise to the homoeothermics creatures can be compared with the mechanisms of Google search, and its magnificent effect in the global economy). And so Google can plot its next move to an even greater leadership strategy in the future.

Larry Page, Sergey Brin and the Dimetrodon - both have a breathtaking new tool 

Edward O Wilson wrote in 1978 “Human Nature” – Economics can be improved by Darwinian theory. Wilson supports that All Social sciences rely upon implicit models of genetic. (It won a Pulitzer Prize) Even though it was written in 1978, it continues to provide a good overview of much that is still held to be true about human biology and sociology.
He asserted that many human behaviors had genetic basis, like the behavior of termites inside a mound, an idea then disputed by many social scientists and by Marxists intent on remaking humanity.
Today, termites are one of the world's most pervasive and successful insect groups, with about 2,300 known species, mostly in tropical settings, busily at work chewing wood or other plant fiber that protozoa help to digest. They have important ecological roles, helping to create habitat, build soil fertility, recycle nutrients and serve as food for many predators.
On march 2009 Dr. George Poinar discovered the earliest known form of mutualism between an insect and a microorganism ("mutualism," type of symbiotic relationship in which two species help each other) a termite and a protozoa entombed in amber for 100 million years. This particular termite was probably flying around while mating in a wet, humid tropical forest in what is now Myanmar during the Early Cretaceous period.We should take social life in a termite colony as model for today’s economic life, it is flawless. The termites act together simultaneously as one body and cooperate in performing all functions of the community. And, if we consider that some termites live together with at least one million others, we can easily understand the importance of a system of communication that allows termites to provide a working area, come together and join forces against intruders and manage all the other needs of the colony in perfect harmony. This communication system is based on the exchange of chemical signals such as smell or taste.
Perhaps it is in our DNA the origin of our social life, but, once it would not be appropriate for a person to be conditioned like termites, we should not be surprised if in a non-distant future colonies of termite-minded robots would be working in the surface of Moon or Mars.

I’m sure that more and more we will live under the motto “Create more prosperity in the life of others and you shall experience more prosperity in your own life”. In fact I do believe that this attitude is more like a genetic instruction than a religious commandment.

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