The global economic meltdown could have been “largely avoided” by applying Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution to banking, one of the UK’s most respected economists claimed yesterday.
Dr George Cooper, a former Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank strategist, believes the 19th-Century naturalist may hold the key to understanding monetary crises.
Darwin’s evolutionary theories hold true in a financial context and could help institutions including the Bank of England to analyse and “fix” the issues in a more scientific manner, he argues.
They could also prevent another, more catastrophic downturn from occurring whilst “unlocking the true origin of economic growth and inequality”.
The observations are made in Money, Blood and Revolution, Cooper’s latest book, which hits the shelves this week.
Cooper, a bestselling financial commentator, said: “Economics is a broken science. Economists live in a kind of Alice in Wonderland state and believe in multiple, inconsistent, things at the same time.
“These internal inconsistencies between economic theories – the apparently unresolvable debates between leading economists and the incoherent policies of our governments – are symptomatic of economics being in a crisis – specifically, in a scientific crisis.
“Though more than 130 years have passed since Darwin’s death, the premise of his ideas can and should now be applied to global economics in order that world leaders can fix inconsistencies and approach economics in a calculated, scientific way.”
Cooper’s arguments are based upon the lynchpin of Darwinian evolution – that successful species must develop an innately competitive spirit in order to survive.
He believes the same scientific logic can be applied to economics. Doing so would enable policymakers to implement robust economic strategies that take the human condition of competiveness and survival into account.
Cooper is a former research scientist at Durham University whose first book, ‘The Origin of Financial Crises’, won critical acclaim.
He said: “After the biggest ﬁnancial crisis in history, why have we continued to deploy the same policies that originally caused the crisis?
“It is tempting to look for individuals or groups of individuals to blame for both the original ﬁnancial crisis and for the failure to reform policy subsequent to the crisis.
“While superﬁcially satisfying, this may be a fool’s errand. The real culprit may be within the ‘science’ of economics itself.”