Guest Post: Revolution Is Evolution

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by The Needle blog

Revolution is Evolution

This article should not be read as support for violent revolutionary political change but hopefully it will demonstrate that, far from revolution being unnatural and contrary to evolution, it is actually a process of evolution.

All organic structures can be modelled using evolutionary theory and governance, politics and economics, which involve the cooperation of millions of human beings are no exception.

Because everyone is more familiar with evolutionary theory being used to model changes in the natural world, we’ll start by looking at examples in the natural world where revolution occurs as part of the process of evolution, demonstrating that revolution is not an artificial human construct but actually quite normal under particular circumstances.

Revolution occurs in the natural world when a lifeform becomes extinct because the environment it depends on for survival changes at a faster rate than it can evolve.

This can happen in two ways, either the environment is subject to sudden change, as in the case of the dinosaurs or, far more commonly, the environment changes gradually and the lifeform finds itself increasingly ill-adapted before becoming extinct. Because each lifeform has a relationship with other lifeforms there is a knock on effect.

Evidence of extinction in the natural world is the history of the end of one regime precipitating a revolution. Under circumstances where a better adapted lifeform survives occupying a similar ecological niche to the lifeform that becomes extinct, the consequences or upheaval due to this revolution on other lifeforms within the environment can be minor. Where there is no lifeform already naturally adapted to assume dominance within that ecological niche the consequences can be complex and considerable until evolution restores a balance once again.

Having outlined the circumstances under which revolution occurs in the natural world let’s look at two historical political revolutions. The first we’ll look at is the American Revolution. In this example the dominant ’lifeform’ which became extinct would be Great Britain and the environment would be what is now the eastern seaboard of the USA. Great Britain was surpringly ill-adapted to this environment, it’s dominance was due primarily to the fact that other ‘lifeforms’ were even less well adapted. Great Britain ruled and projected it’s power over a great distance [it is interesting to note that it could take up to 6 weeks to send instructions across the Atlantic to put that in some perspective it took Apollo 11  in 1969 a total of 3 days, 3 hours and 49 minutes to fly to the Moon]  In the end a better adapted ‘lifeform’ evolved within that environment. Although the American Revolution was not without conflict and upheaval, because a better adapted political model  had come to dominate, the transition was relatively smooth.

Our second historical political revolution is the French Revolution and the ‘lifeform’ which became extinct is the Ancien Régime of King Louis XVI. These circumstances are completely different from the first example. The Ancien Régime had in the past been fairly well adapted to it’s environment but that environment had changed and the Ancien Régime had not sufficiently evolved to meet that change. In 1789 the regime became extinct but there was no better adapted entity to take it’s place within that environment. Bloody revolution was followed by bloody counter-revolution. It is interesting to note that it was not until almost 80 years later when, in 1870 the French Third Republic was formed, that a stable regime had evolved to govern within that environment.

These two examples stand in stark contrast to each other with the former, relatively smooth American Revolution, being the exception rather than the rule. Still both examples clearly show that political revolution is part of the process of evolution, just as extinction is.

Right, now let’s look at the current economic system because it too has evolved to be incompatable with it’s environment and now faces extinction. It is like an animal which has consumed all of the resources it needs to survive within it’s environment, it is now consuming what it has previously excreted. It has  polluted thE environment thus irrevocably changing it but it has also evolved to be extremely specialised within it’s niche and can not evolve, therefore it will become extinct.

But there is no alternative economic model that can easily take it’s place. Therefore, my conclusion is that it’s inevitable extinction will be followed by an extended period of turmoil and unrest potentially bloody, before an alternative economic model evolves.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
LetThemEatRand's picture

Unfortunately, the direction that we seem to be going is backwards -- back towards a Lord/serf model where a few at the top have all the spoils and virtually unlimited power.  China is a good current example.  The public is being taught and most now believe that the answer to our problems is more police state apparatus, fewer rights (think TSA at airports and "first amendment zones" at political events), no unions or other organization of workers, lower wages for the working class so we can compete with low wage/no regulation countries, and lower taxes/fewer rules for the top "productive class" [in quotes because most simply inherit their fortunes].  

Michael's picture

Think of oligarchs like weeds. You have to kill them all at the roots and their extensions, or they keep coming back.

engineertheeconomy's picture

If or when this revolution becomes bloody, just remember that they declared war on us, we did not declare war on them

We are only defending our friends, our family, our community and our country

If the cops and armed forces had any brains at all, they would be helping us (we the people), not attacking us

old naughty's picture

"...that it’s inevitable extinction will be followed by an extended period of turmoil and unrest potentially bloody, before an alternative economic model evolves."

Or, an alternative evolution model begins...

RockyRacoon's picture

Revolution happens when things get worse faster than people can lower their standards.   That is all TPTB are doing, letting the slide be slow and gradual.   Any slip toward acceleration will rouse the populace to riots and revolution.   It's a delicate balance.  With this many egomaniacs and just plain felons running the financial system it's just a matter of time.  Greed will win out as each rushes for the exits.

AldousHuxley's picture

revolution happens when middle class aligns with the lower class to over throw the upper class. Then few from middle class will assume position of upper class and rule over the rest until cycle repeats.


In America, cheap loans from upper class are keeping lower class from rioting and keep voting republican.

RockyRacoon's picture

Aldous Huxley has some views on that:

"There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution." -- Aldous Huxley, Tavistock Group, California Medical School, 1961

Rhodin's picture

We haven't quite got to "required" meds for all yet.  But there are over 40 million in USA on some type of psychotropic meds.  Add to that large portions of the populace hypnotized by propaganda TV, dosed with clorine and floride, imbibing nanoparticles, GMO, and whatever else with their corporate food.   It does not surprise that a majority believe the propaganda, even when what they actually see disputes it.

Seize Mars's picture


The second one has the headline "Police Shooting in Anaheim Leads to Violent Clash."

That's not exactly what happened, is it?

CPL's picture

I understand that the water and food in the area has dried up like the colorado river.


A dad was complaining (yes he was a felon, but served his time) that he would like water, cops thought that idea was ludicris so they shot him "before he started a riot".  They then turned the guns and dogs on the other parents concerned with the same problem.


Problem solved appearently until the next food and water "riot"

The Final Countdown's picture

Looks like Karl Marx was right about one thing. The situation we are in today is just like 60 years ago, except that the elite is not exploiting everyone else by having control over production means, but by having control over the monetary instruments that are prerequisite to about everything related to our wealth and welfare.

Too bad that despite the right analysis, he had the wrong solution. Maybe there isn't one anyway, and we're all seriously fucked in the long run.

James_Cole's picture

For the love of God people Marx never offered solutions, or frameworks for solutions. He had ideas about how to move away from the current system through revolution but that was the extent of it. 

Lenin is not Marx. 

Inspector Bird's picture

Dead on correct.

Marx had no blueprints for a replacement society, just an idea on how people should behave - just like the guidance that religions provide.  He hated religion, but he spawned one which calls itself a political movement.

Marx also analyzed the problems of the capitalist system incorrectly.  Schumpeter's analysis was far more accurate, as was his description of how and why a capitalist system can fail.  If we were more educated in the Schumpetarian manner, and more aware of what keeps an economy healthy, we likely would have less to be concerned with.

Inspector Bird's picture

There is no "solution" to anything. 

Just intelligent and clean living.  Honesty, sincerity and the ability to look out for oneself in difficult environments. 

People seeking "solutions" and those providing them are misguided.  The blind leading the blind.


The best "solution" to our issues would be to have honest politicians.  I don't see any out there.  Ron Paul is about as close as they get these days....even so, he's a politician.  Which means he's not 100% honest.  Though he happens to be more consistent than all the others, which is in itself a form of honesty and integrity.

engineertheeconomy's picture

There is no solution to anything?

That has to be one of the stupidest things anybody has ever said



AldousHuxley's picture

solution is not always the right thing to do.


for example: solution to lower unemployment to kill off all those who are unemployed.


solution to fixing the fed is to kill the fed, but idea of central banking will never go away.


society needs to decide which solution they are willing to live with.



Landrew's picture

Well said! What is really surprising to me is how many working people actually think lower wages are something to be cheered! Being paid fairly with a pension is somehow a BAD thing.

toady's picture

It's a race to the bottom and everyone is cheering them on as they come around the final turn!

And that's why they will win. Anybody who makes more than anybody else is evil and must be brought down. Anyone who has their act together must have cheated

LooseLee's picture

The bankers and the politicians think they have their act together. Maybe the so-called 'act-together' is nothing but conformity to the established system. Maybe all of these people who think they are part of the 'solution' are really part of the problem. That is my observation...

Anusocracy's picture

Being paid what your labor is worth is a good thing.


Unfortunately, that is not something most people will accept.

q99x2's picture

Just get out in the streets and start banging pans. Bankers can't stand that noise. They head for the hills everytime. 

kito's picture

Bankers wouldn't last a week in the hills...plenty of farmers with shotguns waiting for their commodities brokerage account money to be returned...............

fattail's picture

i watched a documentary on the Argentinian devaluation in 2001 and part of that show was numerous public demonstrations of people banging pots and pans demanding their money back from the banks.  Needless to say they never got their money back, and looked quite pathetic marching in the streets.  i thought they would have gotten more attention and been more effective had they took a more violent approach.

engineertheeconomy's picture

That is exactly why our founding fathers  SUGGESTED VIOLENCE


Jumbotron's picture

God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion. The people can not be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had 13 states independant 11 years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century and a half for each state. What country ever existed a century and a half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it's natural manure.

Thomas Jefferson

LooseLee's picture

Good point! So lets not march with pots & pans, but with the heads of politicians and bankers on tree branches! Until the moron American can awake from the sleep and conditioning of 100 years of repression disguised as freedom he will be no more than a slave of the elite.

Rhodin's picture

That might work, or just thin the elite and the general population while the surviving elite consolidate control by eliminating the awakened ones.   But if you "win", a new elite slowly arises, with new disguises, finds a new way to steal from the productive, and the wheel revolves again later. 

syvanen's picture

Nice explanation for why the 19th century Marxists embrased Darwin's theory almost immediately after its publication in 1859. It provided a concrete example of the idea within dialectical materialism that  quantitative change leads to qualitative change.

swanpoint's picture

ZH: your biggest fans over TAE dropped something for ut'z:



graneros's picture

"To help Greece survive the month of August, the ECB could jump in one last time. Athens must pay back €3.8 billion by August 20. The solution could be a kind of circular deal, in which eurozone central banks take over credit payments. Greece could issue new short-term bonds and sell them to Greek banks. They could then submit them to the Greek central bank as collateral for new emergency help."  (italics are mine)


Now where did we put that can?  Oh there it is, down on the road that goes on forever.

ZeroAvatar's picture

Greece could issue new short-term bonds


Yep, just issue some more 'bonds'.  Nothing like more paper to try to cover up the fact that we're broke.

Abitdodgie's picture

Why will Greece go bankrupt when you can print as much money as you need , next you will be telling me what fair elections we will have this year, how about, Romney is totally different to Obama, and if we can just get him in everything will change or the UN gun treaty will not effect Americans.

graneros's picture

"But there is no alternative economic model that can easily take it’s place. Therefore, my conclusion is that it’s inevitable extinction will be followed by an extended period of turmoil and unrest potentially bloody, before an alternative economic model evolves."

But in the meantime Adam Smith's invisible hand will continue as it always has regardless of any man made "economic model."

James_Cole's picture

Just because it's one of the most mischaracterized quotes there is, an Adam Smith themed day should have the full version:

"As every individual, therefore, endeavours as much as he can both to employ his capital in the support of domestic industry, and so to direct that industry that its produce may be of the greatest value; every individual necessarily labours to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can. He generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good. It is an affectation, indeed, not very common among merchants, and very few words need be employed in dissuading them from it."

engineertheeconomy's picture

"Alternative Economic Model"?

What fucking planet did he come from?

Whats the hell is wrong with an honest monetary system?


James_Cole's picture

You'd do better to spend some time reading Smith before flying off the handle on something you clearly misunderstand. 

Anusocracy's picture

Centralized government and command economies don't work.


How about trying freedom?

falak pema's picture

"Revolution is evolution" would make the scions of scottish enlightenment shudder; they hated the french revolution. They were nourished on John Locke's liberal ideas and the notion of natural laws. And their successors rightly considered RObespierre as a tyrant who used and abused people's power, as he was obsessed by the teachings of Rousseau who decreed that common man was basically good, unlike his blue blooded counterparts who were corrupted by undue privilege. In the name of that principle, "man is good" the French revolution embarked on social engineering to create a new race of rational beings and to eliminate all the corrupt branches of the past order. 

All ideology even if its pushed to its limits in a seemingly good cause ends up by creating its own monsters; revolutionary Robespiere and the Comité de Salut Public were no exception. They spawned the totalitarian culture of statism and new european order based on a seemingly innocuous premise : "man is basically good!". All the while they chopped off people's heads! 

In their defense it can be said that it destroyed the alternative vision projected by two thousand years of Abrahamic religion : man is a fallen angel that must practise penitence and live in guilt until his final redemption. 

One prejudiced belief that made the Universal church pre-eminent was replaced by another that made the secular, totalitarian  state hegemonic.  In both cases a hidden reason for justifying the pre-eminence of a given ideology was evident behind the curtain. It allowed an elite to hold power "for ever" and perpetuate itself. 

Man never learns, he just falls from one bunker into another.

Ask Adam Scot! He lost his angelic status at the British Open ! 

Having said that, I agree with the main gist of the article that says we are basically entering a period of dark ages as we have lost our collective compass in this crash. 

But I also feel the seeds of a new paradigm are all around us and the pain felt during attrition will help propulse the need for new power structures and innovative solutions. And it could be in places that are not part of the current power equation. 

engineertheeconomy's picture

Shoot yourself in the head

 Do it now Troll

blunderdog's picture

Dude, you're like a big-time grouch or something, huh?  Take a chill pill...

Anusocracy's picture

"Revolution is evolution" only when those revolting are more evolved.


Replacing a society with one with a higher level of sociopathic behavior would be devolution.


New American Revolution's picture

Ah, another brilliant historic assumption on the cause of revolution.  Evolution?  Really!   And here it is thorough historic examination of all revolutions, they are always proven to be known as a governmental bankrutpcy.   Brinton's "Anatomy of a Revolution" and my own "New American Revolution" have just been destroyed by this article and while I don't know about Brinton, but I find it hilariously misleading.   However, his conclusion that no economic model can easily take the place of our current system I find distrubingly ignorant.  For Liberty is an economic system unto itself, and to return to it is as simple as the Congress taking back all of its constitutional powers (Art. I, sec 8 & 9), placing their proposal, debate, and vote all within the Public Forum, and away from all the agencies (domestic and foreign) and private corporations that control and operate those powers today, behind closed doors and in private.   Washington calls this "the common weapon by which free governments are destroyed."

It's that easy, and we would see the revitalization of America beginning in no more than 90 days.   Ninety days... 90... days.  But America must Elect A New Congress, and herein lies America's salvation.

I find it unfathomable that Zero Hedge will not print the blog, but they print this drivel.   Either both are sadly ignorant or syncopants, and while I doubt the latter, they make a strong argument for the former. 

No wonder America is and remains in a staged crisis.   Too bad, when we can do so much better.

Serfs Up America!

Treeplanter's picture

Americans had an enormous advantage over the French.  Blessed by being far from the Crown the colonists got used to pretty much running their own business and had learned the basics of government with their assemlies. Congress is the key to a peaceful revolution where we use the Constitution to free us from crony capitalism and the march to totalitarianism.  Don't tread on me.  This ain't Europe. 

Totentänzerlied's picture

Kindly go back to DailyKos or Drudge or whiched statist rag forum you prefer. Elect a new congress, and watch history repeat itself yet again. Serfs up indeed.

engineertheeconomy's picture

Elect a new congress?

You're out in left field

Politicians are purchased, not elected

catch a clue dude

Caviar Emptor's picture

Sometimes civilizations just fade away, roll over and die, wither and turn to dust, crumble slowly in the shifting sands.

toady's picture

I was hoping for a fiat evolution essay, one where it evolves to where it can grow without limits, because that's what will happen.

I just don't see how fiat can evolve fast enough. It'll probably just go extinct.