Economics/Evolution

jhercher's picture

When PRofessor Dalke mentioned how many things from Paul Krugman's talk relate to our class, it got me thinking about how closely related Darwin's evolutionary theory and Adam Smith's economic theory are.  Smith and Darwin were both scientific writers with a flair for the prosaic.  And, in fact, they even have a tendency to share metaphors.  It's not really that surprising, really.  For example, Darwin's vision of finches evolving through natural selection to suit their environment is extremely similar to how Smith said businesses would mold themselves to a changing market in order to fulfill demand for a product, service, etc.  They even both come up with the same word to describe this phenomenon: niche.  What I like about this is that it underscores the expansiveness of evolutionary theory.  It is not just a biological idea, but is an effect that governs the behavior of humans, other animals, plants, viruses (germ theory!), literature, and almost anything that undergoes change over time. 

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randomness