For the EVOLution of Business

EVOLving A More "Conscious" Capitalism with David Sloan Wilson

Episode Summary

In 2009, Elinor Ostrom won a Nobel Prize in Economics for her work studying groups that effectively stewarded shared resources for long-term sustainability. After an already esteemed career applying evolutionary science to all aspects of life, David Sloan Wilson worked with Ostrom to generalize these principles for designing cooperative groups in any endeavor, including evolving more conscious businesses and a more equitable, sustainable Conscious Capitalism. It is widely understood that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution completely revolutionized the study of biology. Yet, according to David Sloan Wilson, the Darwinian revolution won’t be truly complete until it is applied more broadly—to everything associated with the words “human,” “culture,” and “policy.” David Sloan Wilson is SUNY Distinguished Professor of Biology and Anthropology at Binghamton University. He applies evolutionary theory to all aspects of humanity in addition to the rest of life, both in his own research and as director of EvoS, a unique campus-wide evolutionary studies program that recently received NSF funding to expand into a nationwide consortium. His books include "Darwin’s Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society," "Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin’s Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives," "The Neighborhood Project: Using Evolution to Improve My City, One Block at a Time," "Does Altruism Exist? Culture, Genes, and the Welfare of Others" and in 2019 published both "This View of Life: Completing the Darwinian Revolution" alongside "PROSOCIAL: Using Evolutionary Science to Build Productive, Equitable and Collaborative Groups."

Episode Notes

[1:30] Does altruism exist? How does it evolve?

[4:00] What is multi-level selection?
"Selfishness beat altruism within groups, but altruistic groups beat selfish groups."

[6:30] How our ability to cooperate sets us apart from our closest evolutionary relatives

The core design principles as adapted from David's work with Elinor Ostrom, 2009 Nobel Prize Winner in Economics:

[13:30] Why being well adapted to your current circumstances is different than being adaptable to changing circumstances - The Toyota Innovation principles

[20:00] Nobel Prize for Enlightened Business

[23:00] Re-thinking the "invisible hand" and bringing an evolutionary lens to our economic system
"There is a vitality for capitalism that we want to celebrate, but if it's not harnessed then it becomes destructive."

"Becoming wise managers of evolutionary processes."

[29:00] How to adapt the core design principles to coach groups to make them more cooperative and adaptable

Learn more about how David is applying evolutionary principles to creating more Prosocial groups and companies in his book PROSOCIAL: Using Evolutionary Science to Build Productive, Equitable and Collaborative Groups:

...or on the Prosocial website:

Learn more about The Evolution Institute:

Learn about David's vision for "Completing the Darwinian Revolution" in his latest book: