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A Historical Conspiracy: Competition, Opportunity, and the Emergence of Direction in History

  • Author(s): Vermeij, Geerat J
  • et al.
Abstract

I describe historical patterns that I believe would emerge in any system characterized by living things competing for locally scarce resources. I then consider the search for patterns and their explanation in the context of an intellectual climate dominated by anti-adaptationist rhetoric and doubts about the validity of scientific approaches to history. Notwithstanding this hostile environment, I present a summary of the economic principles that in my view not only account for historical patterns but also serve to predict future trends and postdict past ones not yet known. A positive feedback between consumers and resources – a historical conspiracy of sorts – implies the existence of inherent directions in the history of living things, including humans.

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