When I set out to research a book on economics, I had not heard of the correlation between morality and capitalism, and I must say my initial reaction was one of sheer incredulity. It seemed like a long stretch, to say the least. Before long though, I realised that one cannot properly argue any social system, real or imagined, without discussing also morality. The association of economics and morality, in whatever form either may manifest itself, is now central to my formative book, Capitalism – The De-Regulation of Pressure. It speaks directly to the threat posed by population pressure, and there can be arguably no more relevant call to morality than the seemingly insoluble problem of the weight of numbers in our future as a species.
Ants are probably the most successful of all the several million species of living things on Earth. They are so successful, in fact, that their total biomass is the same as the biomass of human beings. What can we learn from ants?
This passage is an excerpt from my book, Stephen Hawking Smoked My Socks (Muse Harbor Publishing, 2014):
Nevertheless, in a frame of reference that’s limited to the last two or three thousand years, we can make some useful projections of our future on the planet. As a biologist friend said over lunch the other day, we are now able to see evolution of the gene itself, a maturation of the code, and it is happening fairly rapidly (quickly enough for measurable changes to the code in 50 elapsed years). How significant this is, I don’t know, given that genetically, we are nearly identical to primates, and very, very similar even to bacteria. But I suspect that we are still constrained by the basics of the code that defines our species, and slightly more broadly, defines all living things. We can learn a lot about those constraints by studying less-sophisticated species. How do different species adapt to changes in their environment? In the 1970s, the docudrama “The Helstrom Chronicle” (a story about competition for the world about us) created a buzz in cinemas around the world. The narrator, biologist Nils Helstrom, uttered the following memorable line: “Human beings compete for the world by trying to adapt the environment to suit themselves; insects do it by adapting themselves to suit the environment. Insects will win.”