Would Charles Darwin Have Been a Good Investor?

Laurence Articles

Pulak Prasad is a successful investor in the Indian market, where he grew up. But he is also an amateur evolutionary biologist. His new book illustrates a powerful – and often money-making – link between the disciplines of investing and evolution.

I wanted to write Pulak Prasad’s What I Learned About Investing from Darwin, or something very much like it, 40 years ago. My first published article, written in 1982, began: “The economy of man was Charles Darwin’s inspiration for his theory of natural selection.” I then quoted Darwin:

I happened to read…Malthus on Population, and being well prepared to appreciate the struggle for existence which everywhere goes on from long continued observation of…animals and plants, it at once struck me that under these circumstances favorable variations would tend to be preserved and unfavorable ones to be destroyed. The result of this would be the formation of new species.

My article then outlined the ways in which evolution and economics are similar, explaining changes as the result of variation and natural selection. Clearly, there’s a book in there somewhere. It is just as well that I did not write it, because Prasad has done so with knowledge of both markets and evolution vastly superior to what I had at age 28.

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