Bionomics: The Inevitability of Capitalism. Michael L Rothschild. Henry Holt.

Bionomics: The Inevitability of Capitalism Book Cover Bionomics: The Inevitability of Capitalism
Michael L Rothschild
Henry Holt

Bionomics argues that what we call capitalism (or free-market economics) is not an ism at all but a naturally occurring phenomenon. It is the way human society spontaneously organizes itself for survival in a world of limited resources. Capitalism was not planned; like life itself, it did not need to be. It just happened, and it will keep on happening.

Marxism, on the other hand, has its own theory to explain why it should work, although it never seems to work in practice. Capitalism lacks a theory, but for all its flaws, it continues to outperform planned or politically directed economies. By explaining the ecology of capitalism (its cooperative as well as competitive relationships), Bionomics offers the first coherent view of the historical forces that are propelling the worldwide trend toward free-market economies.

Drawing on the science of evolutionary biology and his own experience as a high-tech entrepreneur and consultant to leading corporations, Michael Rothschild challenges conventional thinking to provide an entirely new explanation of our economic past and probable future. He argues that “on a day in-day out basis biologic and economic life are organized and operate in much the same way: in the biologic environment, genetic information is the basis of all life. In the economic environment, technological information, captured in books, data bases, and the know-how of millions of individuals, is the ultimate source of all economic life.”

Looking at the economy through the prism of contemporary biology, Mr. Rothschild challenges conservatives and liberals to move beyond ideology and to rethink government’s role in fostering a prosperous and compassionate society. And, most important, Bionomics explains how we can take advantage of fundamental economic forces to help solve our most pressing problems, including:

  • Regaining our position of world economic leadership
  • Making Americans investors and savers, not just spenders
  • Finding the economic incentives to reduce poverty, homelessness, and environmental disasters
  • Reversing the failures of our public schools

Michael Rothschild earned his law and MBA degree simultaneously at Harvard. Formerly with the Boston Consulting Group, he now directs the San Francisco office of the Cambridge Meridian Group, a firm specializing in competitive planning for corporations experiencing rapid technological change. A decade ago, after noticing several uncanny similarities between economic and ecologic phenomena, he began the research and study of biology that led to the writing of Bionomics.