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Book : Bionomics: Economy as Ecosystem (1995)

Bionomics: Economy as Ecosystem

Categories: BusinessModellingSystems Thinking

Tags: bionomicsbookdarwinevolutionholtorganisationrothschild

Publisher:Henry Holt & Company

Author(s):Rothschild, Michael

Published: 1995 • ISBN: 0805019790 • 423 pages • Delivery Format: Hard Copy - Paperback

Available from: Amazon (US)Amazon (UK)Amazon (DE)

Summary

Capitalism, or the market economy, or the free enterprise system—whatever you choose to label it—was not planned. Like life on earth, it did not need to be. Capitalism just happened, and it will keep on happening. Quite spontaneously. Capitalism flourishes whenever it is not suppressed, because it is a naturally occurring phenomenon. It is the way human society organizes itself for survival in a world of limited resources.

A capitalist economy can best be comprehended as a living ecosystem. Key phenomena observed in nature: competition, specialization, cooperation, exploitation, learning, growth, and several others—are also central to business life. Moreover, the evolution of the global ecosystem and the emergence of modern industrial society are studded with striking parallels.

Briefly stated, information is the essence of both systems. In the biologic environment, genetic information, recorded in the DNA molecule, is the basis of all life. In the economic environment, technological information, captured in books, blueprints, scientific journals, databases, and the know-how of millions of individuals, is the ultimate source of all economic life.

Bionomics is not a new "theory"—some new doctrine or ideology.There’s already been entirely too much of that. Instead, this book offers a fresh new perspective, a new way of observing the facts before us. When you adjust the focus on a microscope, blurry images pop into vivid detail. In all its marvelous complexity and beauty, a world invisible to the naked eye suddenly becomes intelligible.

In a way, the bionomic perspective is an infinitely adjustable macroscope—an instrument for the mind’s eye—able to scan the panorama of the global economy or zoom in on its finest details. It is an observational technique that, once learned, comes easily. Complexities that confound traditional approaches yield to its insights. At a time of stunning change in the world, when the inadequacies of long-accepted points of view have become obvious, a new way of looking at old problems may be just what is needed.

Content / Structure

INTRODUCTION: GENES AND KNOWLEDGE

PART I: EVOLUTION AND INNOVATION

  • Chapter 1: Hints of Change
  • Chapter 2: Theories of Change
  • Chapter 3: Darwin's Vision
  • Chapter 4: The Mythical Machine
  • Chapter 5: Life's Pulses
  • Chapter 6: Brains and Tools
  • Chapter 7: Technology's Rhythm

PART II: ORGANISM AND ORGANIZATION

  • Chapter 8: Form and Function
  • Chapter 9: Design by Compromise
  • Chapter 10: American Perestroika
  • Chapter 11: A Commons Fallacy

PART III: ENERGY AND VALUE

  • Chapter 12: Surplus and Genes
  • Chapter 13: Profits and Technology
  • Chapter 14: Savings and Taxes

PART IV: LEARNING AND PROGRESS

  • Chapter 15: Survival Training
  • Chapter 16: Organizational Learning
  • Chapter 17: The Universal Curve
  • Chapter 18: Japan's Secret Weapon

PART V: STRUGGLE AND COMPETITION

  • Chapter 19: Escape through Diversity
  • Chapter 20: Economy as Ecosystem
  • Chapter 21: Divide and Prosper
  • Chapter 22: Ending Poverty

PART VI: FEEDBACK LOOPS AND FREE MARKETS

  • Chapter 23: Spontaneous Order
  • Chapter 24: Rules vs. Prices

PART VII: PARASITISM AND EXPLOITATION

  • Chapter 25: The Hook
  • Chapter 26: Private Corpocracy
  • Chapter 27: Public Bureaucracy

PART VIII: MUTUALISM AND COOPERATION

  • Chapter 28: Soviet Capitalism
  • Chapter 29: Global Coevolution

POSTSCRIPT: BIONOMICS vs. SOCIAL DARWINISM

Copyright 1995 by Henry Holt & Company

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