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Social Change - Evolutionary Theory

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Oath of Fealty by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle:

An excellent example of Evolutionary Theory can be found in In Oath of Fealty. Race riots have destroyed Los Angeles, which leads the city managers to sell the construction rights to a private company called Todos Santos. The citizens of the new “arcology” develop a wildly different culture in which all privacy has been exchanged for security. After the deaths of two youths, the arcology managers are forced to disable their lethal security devices – resulting in new riots. Tony Rand commented famously about this book, “Think of it as Evolution in Action”

Key Theorists / Tenants

  • Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859. However most people don’t know that is was Richard Hofstadter who coined the phrase "survival of the fittest” in 1955 while describing society as a living organism.

  • Richard Dawkins’ 1989 book The Selfish Gene popularized the use of Evolutionary Theory to explain the success of many prominent ideas, including social change. The Selfish Gene introduced the idea of memetics, in which Evolutionary Theory is adapted to explain the success of prominent ideas.


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