Similar Principles Of The Natural And Economic Environments

1029 words - 4 pages

Similar Principles of the Natural and Economic Environments

By examining Darwin's theories of evolution, which explain the process by which the phenomenon of evolution occurs, we get a grasp of a broad picture of the natural world with all its relationships and dynamics. Likewise, Adam Smith explains the economic world of Laissez-Faire capitalism in abstract, holistic terms, creating a general picture of its components. In studying both systems---one, the law of the wild, and the other, a system imposed by humanity---we can see how similar they are in their mechanisms, despite the fact that they apply to completely different settings. Therefore it is no surprise that Smith's capitalist system brings human society closer than ever to the brutal characteristics of the natural world, the same characteristics from which the `enlightened' society of Smith's time had been fighting to free itself.

First we should look at how both of these systems operate. Darwin theorized that creatures evolve through natural selection, or, to clarify, that surviving creatures---and, therefore, the traits that they pass along to their offspring---are `chosen' by their respective environments. This means that whichever creatures are best suited to survive and reproduce in their habitats will not die off, and their genes will be passed along to subsequent generations. Smith advocates almost the same principles for human economy, and it is interesting that his proposed economy just about sums up the system of natural selection, for his theories were published almost a century prior to Darwin's. Smith's ideal economy is completely based on self-interest, which perfectly suits humans, for they are naturally inclined to this quality. Just as it is in every creature's self-interest to survive, humans want to survive and prosper in their economy. The difference between the creatures of the natural world and humans is in the aims of their motivations: the formers' goal is to prolong life, while the latter wish to increase wealth. Smith's economy is ruled by supply and demand, or what things people need (or want), and how much. Therefore, it is self-regulating, and needs no control from an outside source. The weak and poorly suited will fail to profit or even survive, and eventually will dwindle out of the system. The strong and fit will continue to devise means of profit-making in increasingly creative and progressive ways, thus guaranteeing their survival. As a result, both the consumer society and the economy benefit, for needs are provided for and money is made, and the weak, incompetent members of society will die off, leaving humanity stronger overall. Furthermore, Smith's notion of `the invisible hand' is precisely analogous to natural selection itself. Both of these ideas seem to dictate the systems they define, as though they have some sort of power or consciousness directing their progress; but, in fact, it is the opposite that is true: these...

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