In this Book

summary

From humans to hermit crabs to deep water plankton, all living things compete for locally limiting resources. This universal truth unites three bodies of thought--economics, evolution, and history--that have developed largely in mutual isolation. Here, Geerat Vermeij undertakes a groundbreaking and provocative exploration of the facts and theories of biology, economics, and geology to show how processes common to all economic systems--competition, cooperation, adaptation, and feedback--govern evolution as surely as they do the human economy, and how historical patterns in both human and nonhuman evolution follow from this principle.

Using a wealth of examples of evolutionary innovations, Vermeij argues that evolution and economics are one. Powerful consumers and producers exercise disproportionate controls on the characteristics, activities, and distribution of all life forms. Competition-driven demand by consumers, when coupled with supply-side conditions permitting economic growth, leads to adaptation and escalation among organisms. Although disruptions in production halt or reverse these processes temporarily, they amplify escalation in the long run to produce trends in all economic systems toward greater power, higher production rates, and a wider reach for economic systems and their strongest members.

Despite our unprecedented power to shape our surroundings, we humans are subject to all the economic principles and historical trends that emerged at life's origin more than 3 billion years ago. Engagingly written, brilliantly argued, and sweeping in scope, Nature: An Economic History shows that the human institutions most likely to preserve opportunity and adaptability are, after all, built like successful living things.

Table of Contents

  1. Title Page, Copyright
  2. pp. i-iv
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. vii-xv
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  1. CHAPTER ONE: Economy and Evolution: A Road Map
  2. pp. 1-12
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  1. CHAPTER TWO: The Evolving Economy
  2. pp. 13-37
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  1. CHAPTER THREE: Human and Nonhuman Economies Compared
  2. pp. 38-58
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  1. CHAPTER FOUR: The Economics of Everyday: Consumption and the Role of Enemies in Nature
  2. pp. 59-91
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  1. CHAPTER FIVE: The Economics of Everyday: Production and the Role of Resources
  2. pp. 92-120
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  1. CHAPTER SIX: The Ingredients of Power and Opportunity: Technology and Organization
  2. pp. 121-144
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  1. CHAPTER SEVEN: The Ingredients of Power and Opportunity: The Environment
  2. pp. 145-168
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  1. CHAPTER EIGHT: The Geography of Power and Innovation
  2. pp. 169-203
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  1. CHAPTER NINE: Breaking Down and Building Up: The Role of Disturbance
  2. pp. 204-245
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  1. CHAPTER TEN: Patterns in History: Toward Greater Reach and Power
  2. pp. 246-291
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  1. CHAPTER ELEVEN: The Future of Growth and Power
  2. pp. 292-316
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  1. Appendix 1: Abbreviations
  2. pp. 317-318
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  1. Appendix 2: The Geological Time Scale
  2. pp. 319-320
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 321-370
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  1. Literature Cited
  2. pp. 371-430
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 431-445
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781400826490
Related ISBN
9780691127934
MARC Record
OCLC
521225147
Pages
464
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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