#49 – Predator and Prey: Survival of the Fittest

There were those who could recoup their losses and those who could not. (1)

The American economic system sorts people into two basic groups; some of us are predators, others prey. Which group are you in and how can you tell? “The kindling for the fire that consumed Wall Street and nearly the entire economy was mortgages that should never have been taken out in the first place. Homeowners [prey] figured the more house the better, whether or not their income could support the monthly payment, while greedy banks and middlemen [predators] were all too happy to encourage them.” (1)

The predators would have us believe that we have survived the Great Recession and that the economy has returned to “normal.” Even at the time of the crisis, not everyone agreed what should be done. “Some 230 academic economists signed a letter attacking the bank bailout legislation that Mr. Paulsen [Secretary of the Treasury] proposed as unfair and a potential threat to the vibrancy of private markets.” (1)

While predators continue to stalk prey in the American economy, survival of the fittest also continues on a global scale. Some would say that the U.S. is among the chief predators among the world’s nations. Harvard professor Stephen M. Walt expresses that fear in his book The Hell of Good Intentions: America’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy. “Part of the ‘realist’ school, Mr. Walt says that since the end of the Cold War, the United States has engaged in a series of expensive, largely unnecessary and ultimately failed efforts to remake nations in its own unusual image.” (2)

Whether as individuals or nations, our species is undoubtedly expressing behavior more appropriate for a jungle environment. President Trump would have the U.S. abandon the civilizing influence of the World Trade Organization, NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership and trust in more predatory behavior. Yale law professor Oona A. Hathaway warns against abandoning a global consensus that has softened “survival of the fittest” behaviors for decades. “What the world may face instead, is the dismal prospect of conflict without the rules or means of resolving it peacefully. The United States would remain a powerful player in that world, but it would be playing a much more dangerous game.” (3)

For a more profound explanation of these predator/prey behaviors click on the link below.

Insight # 49: Ironically, in a worldview where survival of the fittest is a dominant behavior, nobody survives.


  • Survival of the Fittest in Art and Simple Reality (Chapter 4) soon to be in print and currently found on this blog, by Roy Charles Henry.


  1. New York Times Sunday Business. “Ten Years Ago, Lehman Brothers Collapsed: What We Lost, What We Learned.” September 16, 2018, page 3.
  2. Erlanger, Steven. “Is U.S. Foreign Policy Reverting the World to a Dark ‘Jungle’? The New York Times. September 23, 2018, page 9.
  3. Sommer, Jeff. “Why Trade Disputes Are More Than a Money Problem.” The New York Times. September 23, 2018, page 3.


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