What role does scarcity and competition play in the development and survival of a species. Many assume that the competition for scarce resources always makes a species more fit. According to Darwin’s theory, natural selection does favor the traits and behaviors that increase individual reproductive success. Said differently, the ability to reproduce is the most important factor in determining which traits get passed on to the next generation. Nevertheless, Darwin’s theory advocates that this may not always contribute positively to the wider interest of the species. Sometimes, certain traits and behaviors favor individual success but negatively affect the group as a whole. That is important. To illustrate this point over the next couple of posts I will introduce two forms of competition, recognized by biologists, that benefit individuals to the detriment of the species. Please try to keep in mind that this series of posts is all about behavioral economics.
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