Listen to this audiobook by Robert H. Frank, narrated by the talented Walter Dixon, as we delve into an intriguing question: Who had the greater economic insight, Adam Smith or Charles Darwin? Yes, it may sound absurd to compare a naturalist to an economist, but Frank argues that Darwin's understanding of competition actually aligns more accurately with economic reality than Smith's. In fact, Frank predicts that within the next century, Darwin may be regarded as the true intellectual founder of economics.
So why does Darwin's perspective on competition hold such weight? Well, according to Frank, it's because Darwin recognized that individual and group interests often clash. Unlike Smith's notion that competition leads to the common good through the invisible hand, Darwin understood that economic competition often gives rise to harmful behaviors that harm both individuals and society as a whole. This insight challenges the prevailing belief that unbridled competition is always the answer, and highlights the urgent need to see the world through a Darwinian lens.
Unfortunately, our failure to grasp this reality places all of us at risk. By clinging to Smith's ideas, we overlook the fact that competition alone cannot solve our problems. Smith's theory of the invisible hand has become a popular argument for promoting competition and opposing regulation, taxation, and even government intervention. But what if this idea is more of an exception than a rule? Frank presents a compelling case that it is, and builds upon Darwin's framework to demonstrate why competition often leads to detrimental "arms races" and relative gains that ultimately cancel each other out.
However, there is reason for hope. We possess the power to tame the Darwin economy. Frank proposes a solution: rather than outright prohibiting harmful behaviors, we can tax them. By implementing this approach, we can expand the economic pie, eliminate government debt, and provide improved public services, all without burdening anyone with painful sacrifices. Though it may seem like a bold claim, Frank asserts that it follows logically and is supported by evidence that most people readily accept.
In this 8-hour and 24-minute audiobook, Robert H. Frank and the captivating narration of Walter Dixon challenge us to rethink our understanding of economics. Will you be convinced that Darwin's insights are more relevant than ever, and that we must reshape our approach to competition and societal well-being? Listen on to explore these fascinating ideas and reach your own conclusions.