How Do You Repeal a Law of Nature?

Most people take the natural order for granted. Physics just works. Nobody argues with it. Biology happens. Is it good? Is it bad? Whatever. It works. Evolution is actually a pretty neat idea. It takes a long time, but at least you can see progress. It’s implemented through natural selection. The strong survive, the weak are gradually weeded out, and the fitness of each species increases over time.

Without the process of natural selection, none of the species we know today would have evolved. The species they replaced along the way would have eventually died out because they couldn’t adapt to the changing environment. Looking at it from a scientific perspective, it’s a remarkably functional design.

From a personal perspective, though, it seems rather harsh. After all, the strong survive at the expense of the weak. Is that right? Is that socially acceptable? Wouldn’t it be more “equitable” to require the strong to sacrifice so the weak could be indefinitely sustained?

What would become of a species if you were to eliminate the process of natural selection because it seems unfair to those who don’t make the cut? Eliminating the natural mechanism by which a species adapts and improves would result in its eventual extinction, the entire species having been sacrificed for the sake of preserving its weakest specimens.

The free market is the socio-economic corollary of natural selection. Products that fill a need survive, those that don’t fail. Products and services are constantly adapting to better fill the needs of the marketplace. The law of supply and demand is not something economists invented; it’s an observation of the way a natural law applies to the principles of economics.

Just as competition among species drives evolution, and competition within species improves the fitness of the species, competition among goods and services drives constant improvement and innovation that benefits the overall population. Just as tampering with the process of natural selection would inevitably lead to a decline in the fitness and sustainability of a species, so tampering in the free market necessarily works to the detriment of society.

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Published in: on December 22, 2007 at 12:32 pm  Comments (11)  
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11 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Sorry kid, there’s no Santa; but you may take consolation in Darwin’s /On The Origin of Species/ and a bonehead book on microeconomics from my community college. Whatever happens in the economy is for the best, even if you find yourself starving to death, and starvation before you procreate should improve the gene pool.

  2. So, what about the species that we hunt to extinction or that die out because we ruin their habitats?

    I think what you’re really doing here is equating rich/greedy with “the strong”, which I find dubious at best. Do you really think that over time your precious free market (which I do believe is like a religion with a lot of “conservatives” in this country) will eventually weed out all the people that are more prone to be “weak”, poor, etc.?

    Here’s something controversial for controvery’s sake: Didn’t Hitler try to do just that through more “direct” means?

    “What would become of a species if you were to eliminate the process of natural selection because it seems unfair to those who don’t make the cut?”

    In order to do this, I would think that you’d have to get rid of the changing environment (which I don’t think you can do), which would tend to make things more “equal” for everyone in a species. I don’t think that species would die out then.

    The free market also “works” when you make people believe that they actually need a product when, in fact, they don’t. Maybe a good example of this is smoking tobacco. Bad for you…good for big tobacco. So, if they do enough advertisng and counter-research, they preserve their market for a longer time.

    I think markets can be manipulated a tad more easily than nature can be IMO. :)

  3. “So, what about the species that we hunt to extinction or that die out because we ruin their habitats?”

    For the answer to that question, you’ll have to read this post: The Way of Nature. :)

    “Didn’t Hitler try to do just that through more ‘direct’ means?”

    Not at all. What you refer to as “direct” means was government manipulation of the selection process, which is the opposite of natural selection. The corollary in economics would be government manipulation of the market, which is, again, the opposite of the free market ideal.

  4. I think what Hitler tried to do is just kill those that he thought were undesirable, the “weak”, etc.. What’s the difference between doing that (besides the obvious moral implications) and just letting the market do it?

    Who gets to decide who the “weak” in our society are?

  5. Oh my, Mr. Guy, you just don’t get the fundamental difference between a free market and a manipulated market, do you? It’s actually pretty simple. A “free” market is singularly characterized by the fact that it is free of manipulation.

    You’re saying, if the end result is the same, what’s the difference? The point is that the end result is not the same, cannot be the same, because once you start meddling in the free market, it is no longer free and cannot take its natural course. Manipulating the market (or attempting to the thwart the process of natural selection) inevitably invokes the law of unintended consequences.

  6. You’re very cerebral IMO, but not very practical. Name one society that sucessfully left all of it’s fate to the free market. The free market has already failed in many areas IMO…health care, combating poverty, etc.

    What does the church of the free market that you worship at look like anways?

  7. […] up from NotYourDaddy at Government is Not Your Daddy we have “How Do You Repeal A Natural Law?” This article explores the idea that the free market is akin to natural selection in the […]

  8. Mister Guy:

    The market for health care is one of the most heavily regulated markets in existence. Proclaiming that its shortcomings are a result of market freedom is simply mistaken.

    Poverty is a government problem, too. Subsidies in certain industries, and minimum wage laws, and tariffs/quotas keep wages too high, resulting in involuntary unemployment. The 13% of all American paychecks devoted to SS/OASDI hits the poor the hardest, because they are all below the contribution cap. The government creates inflation, devaluing savings…

  9. Profiting from denying health care that doctors and patients say they need is morally repugnant IMO. That’s how our health care insurance system works in this country.

    I think there might have been poor people before there was ever a govt. my friend. Yea, wages are “too high” in one of the richest countries in the world, right. Payroll taxes are regressive, that’s why they hit the poor the hardest. The “contribution cap” that you refer to is, I think, $102,000 this year. Go read a science fiction novel Davey…

  10. […] the economic corollary of natural selection. In nature, survival of the fittest drives evolution. How Do You Repeal a Law of Nature, examines what would happen if we were to apply protectionism in nature, artificially sustaining […]

  11. […] presents How Do You Repeal a Law of Nature? posted at Government is not your Daddy., saying, “The law of supply and demand is not […]

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