Who Killed the Dodo?

Ready? It was a lack of regulation that killed the Dodo…

Everyone knows the story of the Dodo — a flightless bird with no fear of humans that was clubbed to death for food. But that’s no worse than the things we do to chickens really. The really sad fact is that the Dodo went extinct in the process. (Actually, they were killed off by invasive species that sailors brought with them, because it turned out they didn’t taste all that good. But it’s a good story nonetheless — and the moral remains valid.)

The problem, of course, was that accumulated effect of individuals acting in their own self-interest totally decimated the population, until it could not recover. That is why, today, we have government departments like U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service — to make sure that future generations don’t suffer from current greed. 

The same thing very nearly happened to the buffalo. But there were more of them, and they could run faster. So they survived — barely.

Note:
Interestingly, Native Americans had no word in their language for “greed”. So they called it White Man’s Disease. They could not have been more prescient, as that greed has ratcheted up to the point that it is having a devastating impact on the global environment.

The very same thing is a problem for corporations! Many corporations, each acting in their own self-interest, can have the cumulative impact of destroying the very economy they seek to sell into, as explained in Where Marx Went Wrong.

On the other hand, socially responsible corporations like Google, Ben & Jerry’s, Microsoft, and Apple know these things. They welcome appropriate controls, because those controls preserve the environment — and the market. They know that when everyone prospers, they prosper. 

When EVERYONE prospers, corporations prosper. Click To Tweet

In other words, regulations are good when they prevent the individual actions from accumulating to the point that they are, ultimately, socially self-destructive. Alas, not all corporations are that astute. 

Regulations are good when they prevent individual actions from becoming socially self-destructive. Click To Tweet

So in the end, it is the people who did not put regulations in place who killed off the Dodo. (If their hands were shackled, it was the people who put on the manacles who are to blame.) And it is the people who are in the Administrative branch of American government today — people put in place by Donald Trump — who will be responsible for what may well be the extinction of the human species.

Because, after our last well runs dry and the last crop has been taken from a dying earth, it is the human species who will be the next to succumb.

After the last well runs dry and the last crop harvested, it is HUMANITY who will succumb. Click To Tweet

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