Organisms must evolve not merely to combat static environmental circumstances but also as part of their perpetual arms race against competitors, disease, and parasites. This theory accounts for why sexual creatures outlast asexual creatures: it’s in the battle against competitors, disease , and parasites that the upside of genetic diversity begins to outweigh the downside.
“Sex, according to the Red Queen theory, has nothing to do with adapting to the inanimate world – becoming bigger or better camouflaged or more tolerant of the cold or better at flying – but is all about combating the enemy that fights back.
Biologists have persistently overestimated the importance of physical causes of premature death rather than biological ones. In virtually any account of evolution, drought, frost, wind, or starvation looms large as the enemy of life. The great struggle, we are told, is to adapt to these conditions. Marvels of physical adaptation – the camel’s hump, the polar bear’s fur, the rotifer’s boil-resistant tun – are held to be among evolution’s greatest achievements. The first ecological theories of sex were all directed at explaining this adaptability to the physical environment. But with tangled bank, a different theme has begun to be heard, and in the Red Queen’s march it is the dominant tune. The things that kill animals or prevent them from reproducing are only rarely physical factors. Far more often other creatures are involved – parasites, predators, and competitors. A water flea that is starving in a crowded pond is the victim not of food shortage but of competition. Predators and parasites probably cause most of the world’s deaths, directly or indirectly. When a tree falls in the forest, it has usually been weakened by a fungus. When a herring meets its end, it is usually the mouth of a bigger fish or in a net. What killed your ancestors two centuries or more ago? Smallpox, tuberculosis, influenza, pneumonia, plague, scarlet fever, diarrhea. Starvation or accidents may have weakened people, but infection killed them” (65, The Red Queen)
The Red Queen by Matt Ridley
A measurement of how a company incurs costs as its sales grow. If a company’s costs are fixed, its profitability will increase with each additional sale.
3rd Party Definition
“Operating leverage is a measurement of the degree to which a firm or project incurs a combination of fixed and variable costs. A business that makes sales providing a very high gross margin and fewer fixed costs and variable costs has much leverage. The higher the degree of operating leverage, the greater the potential danger from forecasting risk, where a relatively small error in forecasting sales can be magnified into large errors in cash flow projections.” (Investopedia)
“Specifically, I’m talking about what’s known as “operating leverage”: the greater your percentage of costs that are fixed, the more operating leverage you have, which means the greater return you earn on every additional sale. To take an extreme example, consider Stratechery: I have extreme operating leverage, because the vast majority of my costs (time spent writing, reading, and researching primarily) are fixed; were I to accurately measure the profitability of an individual subscriber I would need to account for the value of that time and spread it evenly across my subscriber base and subtract each subscriber’s share of that cost — along with (marginal) credit card fees — from the $10/month (or $8.33/month for annual subscribers) fee. My leverage comes from the fact that adding an additional subscriber doesn’t increase that fixed cost at all: instead, one more subscriber makes every other subscriber more profitable, because the fixed cost is spread more broadly.” (Stratechery)
Stratechery by Ben Thompson
Explanation of the purpose of phenomena, beyond efficient, formal, and material causes. It is the directive principle or goal behind a phenomena.
A teleological explanation: ” A teleological explanation is one that explains the existence or occurrence of something by citing a goal or a purpose that is served by the thing. ” (24, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea)
Darwin’s Dangerous Idea by Daniel Dennett
“The ability of an individual or group to carry out a particular economic activity (such as making a specific product) more efficiently than another activity.” (Oxford Dictionary of English)
“The essence of this law can be illustrated with a simple example. Imagine that you are a skilled cabinetmaker as well as a gifted painter. It takes you a day to build a cabinet or a day to paint a picture. In the local economy, paintings sell for $400 and cabinets go for $350. Your neighbor also shares the same skill sets, but it takes him a day and a half to build a cabinet and three days to complete a painting. You have an absolute advantage over your neighbor in both areas, so you should try to outproduce him across the board, right? Wrong.
Here’s why: If you flip between painting and cabinetmaking over a six-day work week, you would produce three paintings and three cabinets worth $2,250. If your neighbor embarked upon the same work schedule, he would produce one painting and two cabinets worth $1,100. There would be a total of four paintings and five cabinets produced: a total of nine production units. If, however, you were to choose to focus on painting, the area where you have the greatest comparative advantage and the most profit, and leave cabinetmaking to your neighbor, something magical would happen. You would produce six paintings worth $2,400 per week, while your neighbor would produce four cabinets worth $1,400, bringing the total to 10 production units. In real terms, both you and your neighbor would be richer for specializing – and the local economy is one production unit the better for it.” (Investopedia)
The present is the cause of the future and the effect of the past. If one were capable of calculating every effect of every cause, he would be able to understand and predict every effect in the universe.
“It fell to Pierre-Simon Laplace…to take Newtonism to its logical conclusion. Laplace argued that the present state of the universe was ‘the effect of its past and the cause of its future’. If an intellect were powerful enough to calculate every effect of every cause, then ‘nothing would be uncertain and the future like the past would be present before its eyes’. ” (17, The Evolution of Everything)
The Evolution of Everything by Matt Ridley