Evolution might seem an untouchable subject on the American political scene—or is it? Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer are civic entrepreneurs with a passion for creating a new political narrative based on the work of evolutionary thinkers such as Eric Beinhocker, Samuel Bowles, Robin Dunbar, Herbert Gintis, Elinor Ostrom, and Rafe Sagarin (TVOL’s ENVIRONMENT editor). Their elegant book titled The Gardens of Democracy: A New American Story of Citizenship, the Economy, and the Role of Government does a remarkably good job of distilling the science into powerful and appealing metaphors, such as the economy as like a garden that requires tending, rather than a machine that runs itself. The book is beautifully produced, can be read in a couple of hours, and provides a helpful reading list of more authoritative sources. It’s the perfect short introduction to the evolutionary paradigm, oriented toward politics and the economy. As they put it, “The great challenge of our age is to change the way that we see, and by so doing improve our ability to adapt.”

Dare we hope that their new narrative might even influence the next election? View my interviews with Eric and Nick to learn more…

Published On: February 10, 2012

David Sloan Wilson

David Sloan Wilson

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, and The Neighborhood Project: Using Evolution to Improve My City, One Block at a Time and Does Altruism Exist? Culture, Genes, and the Welfare of Others. .

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