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Daniel Goldman

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Is capitalism best understood in the context of evolutionary science?

There is much debate as to what economic system works the best. I argue that capitalism is a system that has co-evolved with humans to be the system that best fits our psychology and also best takes advantage of evolutionary dynamics.

Looking first at the "selfish gene" idea, we see that it makes sense for us to do what we can to increase our own reproductive odds or at least those who may be closely related to us. Conspicuous consumption, and the accumulation of a larger material inventory, gives us a way to increase our own reproductive odds. For more information on conspicuous consumption, watch the TEDxConcordia talk by Gad Saad, The Consuming Instinct.

Free market capitalism, through the use of voluntary transactions, gives us a way to manage resources, and accumulate material inventory, without the use of force. It is something we can utilize because we have a robust system of communication, an the ability to create a nearly limitless material inventory.

However, capitalism's advantages, from the view point of evolutionary science, do not end there. Capitalism is not a stagnant system. Indeed, we can look at businesses and living entities existing within an ecosystem: the free market. Therefore, rules that apply to the evolution of biological systems, should also apply to the evolution of market systems as well.


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    Nov 24 2013: I think strong points can be made for evolution in thought and economic systems stemming from the ideas of groups. Capitalism works best with sound reason and moral judgement

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