Genes as entrepreneurs

EvoS Journal: The Journal of the Evolutionary Studies Consortium
Volume 8, Issue 1, 2018-2019

Genes as entrepreneurs

Eric Donald

The signals of profit and loss play a fundamental role in how economic actors learn to behave. Profit informs and incentivizes in such a way that resources can be allocated through the market process according to our material demands. This paper will argue that this arbitrage process is not exclusive to monetary prices but functions similarly for a far older unit of economic analysis: the calorie. Biological evolution is governed by the differential replicability of genes, and these differences are the result of genes building survival machines that are more or less suited to their environment. The ability of a survival machine to acquire sufficient calories is a necessary condition for meeting the Darwinian goals of the gene, so genes that code for a higher than average ability to utilize the calories within an environment would be able to support a larger population in that environment. This enhanced carrying capacity provides positive selection pressure for mutations that allow for the exploitation of novel sources of calories. To model this process, a system of differential equations is developed where a mutant subset of a population is able to achieve enhanced growth in the presence of surplus food resources. The theoretical claims of this paper are tested by examining the urbanization process of birds.


How to cite this article:
Donald, E. (2019). Genes as entrepreneurs. The Journal of the Evolutionary Studies Consortium8(1), 29-43.