Reviewer: Truong Buu Lam: Dr. Lam earned his Doctorate in History from the Université Catholique de Louvain, in Belgium many years ago. He has since taught history of Southeast Asia at several Colleges and Universities in Vietnam and the USA. He has authored a few works on Vietnamese history. He is now retired and the last affiliation was the University of Hawaii.
Author: K.D. Koratsky
Author: K.D. Koratsky
Publisher: Sunscape Books Llc
If you are looking for a bird view history of the physical and human world contained in 351 pages of dense data and intricate analysis, the first part of this book offers a brilliant, detailed, accurate, pleasantly interpretive synthesis. It goes without saying that the author explained every change in the evolution by invoking the traditional evolutionary criteria of challenge/adaptation, competition/survival of the fittest according to the rule of natural selection.
In the second part of the book, p. 353 to the end, the author advises the policy makers of America to be “living with evolution or dying without it,” meaning that from this point on, he is going to apply the theoretical principles he has formulated in the first part to draw practical conclusions so compelling that policy makers would better put them into practice so that the world of human beings will continue to live happily OR that same world will eventually die out if natural selection with its twin handle of reward and punishment is ignored.
It would require pages of discussion if we were to consider all the conclusions reached by the author in this book. Let us examine only a few cases.
First case: wrong premises. According to the author, equal opportunity must yield equal outcome; equal outcome means fairness; so equal opportunity means fairness. (p.543) This syllogism must have been cogent in the beginning of time, when natural selection was genuinely natural, when the “law of the jungle” was applied. Not any longer. Nowadays, we cannot ALWAYS expect to obtain an equal outcome, because the equal opportuntity is no longer equal: the dice are loaded most of the time.
Second case: The author sets up straw men and then shoots them down. “..whenever an employer is forced to hire or promote by group orientation, it becomes impossible for it to hire or promote according to individual merit (Italics in text; hereinafter IT)….the lack of proper talent placement will also harm the society’s propspects for maximal productivity and efficiency on the whole.” (p.400) The law advocates the promotion of group orientation ONLY in cases of equal talent, equal merit!
Third case: Undue generalizations: “There is not a single example ( IT) of a pacifist human population standing the test of time.” ( p. 355) No where has the author defined a ”pacifist human population”? If he has not defined it, how does he know that it did not stand the test of time? Has such a society even ever existed?
Fourth case: The author misunderstands the values of his society which does not ALWAYS automatically chase after maximal benefit at any cost. Thus, do they sound fully true, all (my italics) the following propositions:”if costumers (Sic and IT) do not perceive maximal benefit, they will go elsewhere. If employees (IT) do not perceive maximal benefit, they will go elsewhere. If investors (IT) do not perceive maximal benefit, they will go elsewhere.” (p.536) What about social investments? The stigma surrounding outsourcing? Workers taking pay cuts to prevent co-workers from being laid off?
Fifth case: takes things for granted. p. 403:”..it is virtually impossible for a female to both produce maximal succesful offspring and pursue the highest-status positions in the market place in the vast majority of cases. This is one of many realities that stem from human evolutionary history and the principles that have guided it.” The author should have qualified his conclusions with phrases like these :as I interpret it…as I have understood them…as I see it…instead of terminating all debate by invoking the authority of “human evolutionary history” or guiding principles in absolute terms!
Final case: law of natural selection. When one envisages evolution, one has to see things from the perspective of the eternal! It takes million or hundreds of thousands of years for any minuscule evolutionary adaptation to materialize. In light of that, does it make sense to lecture or even to ask questions about free-market, affirmative action, maximal benefit, merit…?