Sons of Oikos: Ecology and Economics.
An investigation of the similarities and differences
between competition in free markets and ecosystems.
Abstract: Two of the most influential books on modern thought ever published are On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin and The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. Each contain ideas which continue to shape their respective fields to this day, and a common thread between them is competition for scarce resources. In regards to competition, the similarities between ecosystems and free-market economies are strong. However, fundamental differences between the elements of study create a profound disconnect between the two systems; while ecosystems are self regulating and generate diversity, free-market economies trend toward monopoly. Therefore, some measure of regulation is needed in markets to prevent monopolistic behavior, and appeals to natural selection to justify laissez-faire are misplaced.
"Financial Institutions have been merging into a smaller number of very large banks. Almost all banks are interrelated. So the financial ecology is swelling into gigantic, incestuous, bureaucratic banks. ... We have moved from a diversified ecology of small banks, with varied lending policies, to a more homogeneous framework of firms that all resemble one another."
-Nassim Taleb, Hedge Fund Manager (Taleb, 2007) (Terrapinn, 2006)
"In any circumstance where you shut off competition, the current largest player tends to cement their market share and is the ultimate winner."
-Tommy Payne, Reynolds American Vice President (Elliot, 2008)
“There is vicious natural selection going on right now in the financial services industry, and it’s appropriate. Those who weren’t on top of things are gone or going.”
-Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of Canada (Quinn, 2008)
Oikos: Ancient Greek word roughly translatable as "household."
Ecology: derived from okologie, derived from oikos.
Economy: derived from oikonomia, also derived from oikos.
From the outset, the connection between ecology and economics has been implicit. One can hardly begin to talk about one without borrowing phrases from the other, and one can hardly begin to study one without perceiving on some level the connections between the two. And although the two fields have diverged significantly to address the specifics of their disciplines, the early writings of each field betray a fundamental commonality: on their most basic levels, both ecology and economics seek to understand the relationships between actors in a system of exchange under conditions of scarcity.
This essential similarity inevitably begs the question, just how similar are they? More specifically, how justified are economists or those which portend to understand economics in applying ecological principles to markets? Can we go so far as to declare that the mechanisms, principles, and conclusions of one are directly applicable to the other? Or should we reject any attempts at congruency as mere thought experiments with no real-world implications? Is there a middle ground? In order to address this, a more thorough understanding of the underlying mechanisms of the two fields is needed. But first, we must establish some parameters.
The actors in both ecology and economics, as well as the levels of organization they represent, can be broken down into four analogs, each nested within a previous classification like a set of Russian Dolls. The most inclusive analogs, representing the largest Russian Doll, are the ecosystem and the market, each being confined to a given geographic location. Within those geographic locations are members of the same species and firms that have more than one local representation in the market; that is, populations. Further nested are individual organisms and two types of firms: those which operate in only one geographic location, e.g. Redrum Burger in Davis, CA, and the lone local representation of a larger firm, e.g. the In-N-Out Burger across the street. Finally, the smallest doll; information. Genes are pieces of information used to direct an individual organism, so their economic equivalent would also be directing information, i.e. a firm's strategy, technology, or knowledge; in short, it's business model.
A tedious exercise, perhaps, but necessary in order to fully understand whether ecological principles can be applied to economics. For it is the soundness of these analogies, which have been represented in good faith, that ultimately determines the applicability of ecological mechanisms to economics.
Now, in so far as both fields study relationships in systems of exchange, there are many such relationships that can exist. In ecology, relationships are typically broken down by their effects on the individuals involved: positive, negative or neutral. A typical diagram of possible interactions takes the form of a matrix or grid (Fig. 1) (Bronstein, 1994).
From this array of six potential relationships, the most widely studied are undoubtedly those dealing with predation and competition (Bronstein, 1994). This is partially due to ideological and methodological biases inherent in the West, but it is mostly reflective of the fact that negative consequences, especially those resulting from competition, lie at the heart of Darwin's initial conception of evolution and ecology (Lennox & Wilson, 1994). Adam Smith, too, placed competition at the center of his understanding of markets (Heilbroner, 1986). Thus, it is the treatment of competition as an organizing principle in both disciplines which demands that we understand how each treats competition and what competition means in ecological and economic contexts.
A well agreed upon and sensible definition of competition in ecology describes a situation where multiple individuals seek to utilize the same resource and are detrimental to each other in the process (Birch, 1957). Note what this definition does not include. It does not tell us what the resource is or its properties; it could be a consumable resource such as food, or an inconsumable one such as territory. It does not indicate that the individuals are of the same or different species; they could be either, indeed it has been shown that intraspecific competition is stronger than interspecific competition in most cases due to their virtually identical ecological niche and resource requirements (Connell, 1983). Finally, the definition does not specify how exactly each actor is harmed; this could occur directly via fighting, or indirectly via depletion of a shared resource requirement.
But what of economics? The modern theoretical understanding of competition among firms includes two main points. First, there are multiple market actors. Second, their products are similar, if not identical (Mankiw, 2004). Given these conditions competition between the actors will result. This overlaps quite well with ecology's understanding of competition. However, it comes with a huge caveat: no firm has the ability to influence the market (Mankiw, 2004). That is, no firm is powerful enough to avoid competition. Because as Smith conceived of it, competition was a countervailing force against another, equally powerful force: self-interest (Heilbroner, 1986). In ecology, this principle is found in that all organisms are constantly "striving to the utmost to increase in numbers."(Darwin, 1859, p. 66) Turning to Smith (1776), he provided an anecdote to emphasize the pervasive nature of the principle; "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but form their regard to their own self-interest."(p. 6) But because untempered self-interest would produce numbers so great "that no country could support the product," (Darwin, 1859, p. 63) and create firms capable of influencing the market, an opposing force is necessary for the pattern of relationships to be self-regulating. That force is of course competition. Economically, Smith "show[s] us how the drive of individual self-interest in an environment of similarly motivated individuals will result in competition…" (Heilbroner, 1986, p. 55) Darwin's long winded way of echoing Smith is that species with "much similarity in habits and construction" and which "fill nearly the same place in the economy of nature" will "come into competition with each other."(p. 76)
But what are Smith's actors competing for? Just as ecology leaves any number of possibilities, e.g. territory, water, sunlight, reduced carbon, so too does economics, e.g. real estate, labor, raw materials, money. To be specific, if both economics and ecology are systems of exchange, the primary units of exchange are money and high energy electrons. Without investing them, nothing can grow. Without expending them, nothing can acquire more resources. "The economy of nature" Darwin spoke of is organized around the transfer of reduced carbon from one trophic level to the next, and markets around the transfer of currency.
So it is clear that at their bases both disciplines see their systems as assemblages of self-interested individuals competing with each other for resources, and it is the push and pull of these opposing self-interests which regulate the systems and enable them to perpetuate.
But Darwin couched the discussion of competition within the context of "the struggle for existence."( p. 60) And it is clear that competition alone does not limit populations (Connell, 1983). The same can be said of firms; competition can only occur in situations where firms have met the challenges of simply existing, i.e. at least breaking even in the absence of any like firm. Lurking behind this whole discussion is the threat of failure. Without failure, without death, there can be no competition. Economists call the mitigation or outright prevention of failure "moral hazard" (White, 2008). In general, if firms are insulated from the threat of failure, from real risk, they will take "risks" such that any reward will go to them but losses, if they occur, will go to others. This does not occur in ecology except in kin relationships and mutualisms where an investment of resources or the resources themselves must be protected. For if risk insulation were wide spread, there could be no natural selection. And it is natural selection, the destruction of some forms and the preservation of others, which is the central mechanism of Darwinian evolution and ultimately drives the dynamic nature of ecosystems (Lennox & Wilson, 1994). In economics, Joseph Schumpeter called this "creative destruction" (Schumpeter, 1983). Broadly defined, changes in market pressures cause firms to fail, thus creating room for new firms to flourish. Put another way, organisms and firms are not struggling and competing to be "good," they are struggling and competing to not fail, to be "good enough". When framed in the context of competition, it is no surprise then that rather than attempting to outcompete other organisms or firms, individuals will invariably avoid competition as much as possible. For as was established earlier, competition by definition harms all parties involved. But avoiding competition completely is a practical impossibility, so we must now consider what occurs between parties engaged in it.
Ecology predicts two outcomes from competition: coexistence or competitive exclusion. The competitive exclusion principle arises logically from our concept of competition; individuals which utilize the same limiting resource in the same way, have the same niche, will either A) exclude all but one from the system by directly or indirectly inhibiting access to the limiting resource, or B) will adapt so as to no longer use the same limiting resource in the same way. Stated more simply, "complete competitors cannot coexist," or perhaps less tautologically, "ecological differentiation is the necessary condition for coexistence." (Hardin, 1960, p. 1296) The two possible outcomes, coexistence and exclusion, have been demonstrated most notably by Park (1954) and by Seaton and Antonovics (1967). In the former case, Park was able to demonstrate that a two species, con-generic mixture of flour beetles always resulted in competitive exclusion. In the latter case, Seaton and Antonovics showed the overall productivity of a system with two competitors to be higher than with a single species, but that the individual species reproduced less in the mixture than they did on their own. This was also observed by McClure and Price (1975), indicating that the competition was strong enough to cause some adaptation in ecological time to avoid that competition. Outside of the lab, we see the same results. Connell (1961) demonstrated realized niches simply and emphatically in the barnacle Chthamalus stellatus. There are other possible outcomes of competition besides realized niches; resource partitioning, character displacement, and sympatric speciation among them.
That said, a more accurate way of describing the phenomenon might be that these studies represent individuals' attempts to avoid competition more than they represent competition itself. In order to circumvent competition and the threat of death, organisms will either change how they exploit resources or, if motile, simply leave the area in search of other, less contested resources. That is, they flee scarcity. On the whole, this has resulted in a high degree of specificity in habit. A specialist with a narrow niche will be better at exploiting that niche's resources than a generalist capable of exploiting multiple niches. Generalists of course exist (humans chief among them), but when resources become more limited and competition more fierce, they respond by narrowing their niche breadths and thus become specialists over time (Ma & Levin, 2006) Eventually, however, this specialization leads to a precarious situation where organisms are dependant on an increasingly narrow range of environmental conditions for survival. When conditions change, which they invariably do, specialists may be unable to compete against generalists and will be selected against (Molles, 2008) Therefore, ecosystems with high amounts of disturbance would be expected to have more generalists than specialists relative to less disturbed ecosystems, which typically have more specialized organisms. The end result, then, is a vast amount of ecological diversity in form, function, and habit which changes through time.
So we see that in ecology, the mechanisms behind the competitive exclusion principle drive individuals to minimize their exposure to competitive pressures by adapting their methods of resource exploitation to varying degrees, and those that fail to sufficiently avoid competition are excluded from the system.
But what of economics? When firms enter into competition they, like organisms, are competing for a set of resources. If uninhibited, they will, as in ecology, either exclude all but one from the system by directly or indirectly inhibiting access to the limiting resource, or adapt so as to no longer use the same limiting resources in the same way. To provide the economic standpoint on the issue, the quite exhaustive study of the very rapidly changing hard disk drive industry from 1956 through 1998 conducted by Barnett and McKendrick (2001) is exceptionally useful here, and worth quoting at length:
[Schumperter's] thinking was that organizations would innovate in order to enjoy so-called entrepreneurial rents, the returns that come with being positioned peerlessly ahead of the competition. (p. 5)
Note that Schumpeter's "entrepreneurial rents" are really derived from an adjustment in resource exploitation. Ultimately, the ability to do something new and unprecedented is merely another way of avoiding competition by attempting to exclude one's competitors. Barnett and McKendrick continue:
A second solution is the strategy of technological isolation, or differentiation – a possibility where markets contain differences based on dimensions such as geography or technology… Organizations sometimes find protection from competition by becoming adept at serving these isolated market positions. (p. 5)
This looks strikingly similar to realized niches and specialization. Many such examples of what Dimmick (2006) called "displacement" have been found. Interestingly, Dimmick is not the first to use "displacement" to describe a differentiation process (Brown & Wilson, 1961). But what of competitive exclusion? Media markets provide ample examples of the phenomenon (Dimmick, 2006). Barnett and McKendrick also demonstrate the principle (Fig. 2) (Barnett & McKendrick, 2001)
Of the 169 firms to ever produce a hard disk drive on the world market, 155 exited the industry. Of course, all 155 were not necessarily competitively excluded; some were probably not viable entities and used a flawed business model (perhaps analogous to a fatal mutation). That said, it would not be a stretch to conclude that competition played a role in many of these market exits. Finally, and most startlingly, we see similarities in the results of these systems:
Strategic managers typically try to avoid competition, and to some degree the field of “strategic management” exists in order to explain how to attain so-called positional advantages that isolate an organization from rivalry. If isolation from rivalry removes a firm from the Red Queen [a form of competition that recognizes the relativity and continued dynamism of competitive relationships], however, then we pay a price in the long run for such positional advantage. We argue that more attention should be paid to the possibility that enduring positional advantages may, in fact, backfire over time by depriving organizations of the engine that generates capabilities. (p. 40-41)
This is the same mechanism underlying the long-term frailty of specialists in ecology, warning of the potential dead-end path of specialization that becomes so entrenched as to render the specialist incapable of sufficient adaptation to changing pressures.
And it is here that we arrive at a rather perplexing impasse. Up until now, we have seen that the general theoretical framework of ecology and economics is more or less congruent: multiple self-interested individuals seeking to exploit the same pool of resources will compete for those resources and either harm each other in the process to such a degree that one actor or class of actors will exclude all its competitors, or individuals will mitigate that competition by specializing in different exploitative methods. The initial conditions are the same, so the results should be the same. However, it is a bit more complicated than that.
In the early goings of this paper the soundness of the purportedly analogous cogs in these two systems was stated to be of the utmost importance. And it is. If one of those cogs were sufficiently weak, the whole machine built upon it would fail. Another way of looking at the question is to observe the products of each system more closely and account for any marked differences. And there is one glaring disparity between the two systems which must be addressed, but cannot be accounted for in our current set-up. Roughly put, markets show a much lower degree of firm diversity than ecosystems show species diversity.
The reason is simple; firms can become specialists in multiple niches, by various means, effectively becoming multiple "economic species" simultaneously. Being self-interested, firms will therefore attempt to exploit as many niches as possible. This will have the effect of rendering the strategy of resource partitioning as a means of avoiding competition useless, which will result in a situation of intense competition. This competition will be exacerbated by resource scarcity as before. Those firms which are not excluded will continue attempting to avoid competition. To do so, they have two options, neither of which is available in ecology: to stop competing while remaining separate firms, or to become a single firm. Failure to do either of those things will force competition to continue and, if left alone, will result inevitably in a single firm dominating all economic activity (Fig 3).
Again, this does not happen in ecology. Indeed, a merger would be tantamount to one organism co-opting the genetic material of another, combing their physical machinery, and then selectively expressing the pooled genes to funnel the exploited resources back to the now single entity. Repeated many times over, this would give the merged organism the ability to occupy and completely dominate multiple, fundamentally different niches on different trophic levels simultaneously within a single ecosystem. Now, bacteria are able to engage in horizontal gene transfer, even accepting genetic material from plants, but this has not been observed to create an organism with the aforementioned capabilities (Thomas & Nielsen, 2005). Indeed, the integration of foreign DNA into the bacterial chromosome occurs less frequently by "several orders of magnitude" (Thomas & Nielsen, 2005, p. 714) as the number of base pairs in the foreign DNA and dissimilarity of those base pairs to the bacterium's own DNA increase (Thomas & Nielsen, 2005).
Additionally, firms do not senesce. Quite the opposite. Left to their own devices, firms are immortal. And firms do not reproduce so much as they simply expand. And while the fungus Armillaria ostoyae is known for its ability to imitate this behavior on a massive scale, even an organism estimated to be 1,500 years old, weigh 10,000kg, and cover 15 hectares has not invaded other niches (Smith, Bruhn, & Anderson, 1992). That is, Armillaria ostoyae hasn't, and won't, become a salmon while simultaneously being a mushroom.
Yet firms are capable of these sorts of behaviors. Brewing, for example, has seen a massive consolidation in recent years, Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller chief among the resultant firms. Acquisitions are less common between major industries, but such combinations have occurred. The Vicks family of products and Dunkin' Donuts are both owned by Proctor and Gamble. Ben 'n' Jerry's and Brut are owned by Unilever. And Tesco, once a single UK grocer, has grown to enormous proportions and has branches dealing in finance, energy, internet service, and even health insurance.
But at first glance it appears that diversity has not been dampened. Quite the opposite. The diversity of goods and services available to consumers and firms alike has become staggering. The choices one faces in the milk section alone are overwhelming. But the creation of new and ever narrower niches, in this case facilitated by branding, is to be predicted, and, especially in niches or industries that are older than others, there are ultimately fewer and fewer firms vying for resources even as their product offerings expand. Some anti-competitive behavior has been obvious; cartels, trusts, outright monopolies. More common, though, is oligopoly, where a few firms come to dominate a niche or set of niches and cease to compete (Mankiw, 2004). The health insurance industry in the United States is one such example. However, oligopoly can only exist in a state of relative equilibrium so long as resource limitations are not strong. If enough pressure is applied, firms will be forced to compete and failures or adaptations will result. This pressure can come from declining demand (which retail firms hedge against by advertising), declining availability of credit (which can also result in a decline in consumer demand), or more tangible declines in physical resource availability. One need only look at the recent upheaval in global finance and US auto manufacturing to see that when pressure is applied, when resources become stressed, firms will (or ought to) rapidly combine or fail.
Certainly there are exceptions in the present economy, Redrum Burger among them, though it could be argued that sufficiently different market niches are being exploited in that case. Additionally, in areas where resources are not sufficiently stressed, these isolated firms can persist. It is important to remember that niches are also defined by geography; however, globalization is making geographic location less and less important, thus making specificity less and less possible. One of Barnett and McKendrick's main conclusions was that:
By the end of the study period, the competitive effect of foreign rivals has grown to be almost indistinguishable from that generated by domestic rivals. ... By the end of the 1990s, competition in the hard disk drive market had become global. (p. 37)
Globalization is having the same effect on global ecology. Invasive and exotic species regularly displace local endemics, and Cohen and Carlton (1998) have shown just how strong a force this can be using the San Francisco Bay and Delta ecosystem, finding that "exotic organisms typically account for 40 to 100% of the common species, … and up to 99% of the biomass." (Cohen and Carlton, 1998, p. 556) The world is becoming more homogenous, despite all the kinds of milk in the fridge.
So where does that leave the state of the analogy, and what are the implications to society? This not being a policy paper, there a few, broad conclusions that can be reached here. First, we must exercise extreme caution in applying principles from one field of study to any other. The phenomena and mechanisms may appear the same, but the inherent attributes of the objects being studied surely are not; otherwise, they would probably be under the same field of study. This does not preclude us from using aspects of one field to gain insight into another. As we have seen, economists have been able to understand their field much more richly thanks to the contributions of evolution and ecology. But following the ideas of a field which explain the behavior of actors with fundamentally different properties will lead to incorrect conclusions, with potentially dangerous results.
If the general conclusion reached in this paper is correct, that firms will avoid competitive pressures by monopolizing across all markets, then two questions must be asked. One, is this bad? And two, what can be done? To answer the first question, let us turn once more to what Adam Smith had to say on the subject: "The price of monopoly is upon every occasion the highest which can be got,"(p. 26) "monopoly, besides, is a great enemy to good management,"(p. 62) and not to put too fine of a point on it, Smith referred to "the wretched spirit of monopoly."(p. 187) Smith is of course not alone. It is nearly universal among economists that monopolistic behaviors are harmful to everyone but those holding the monopoly. So, question two.
Resolving the problem of monopolization, if we follow ecological principles, would ultimately require that competition be made a permanent fixture in as many niches as is possible. That is, some pressure must be strong enough to regulate self-interest and keep monopolistic behaviors in check. But if competition is not a strong enough force between enough actors, there must be a regulatory entity capable of emulating competition's effects or causing competition outright through a series of incentives. Those which appeal to ecological forces to support laissez-faire, most commonly natural selection and competition, are misguided and do not fully understand, or perhaps do not fully care about, the implications of unfettered competition in markets. Ultimately, some form of intervention, generally by governments although possibly by citizen groups or unions, is needed to prevent the monopolization of the world economy. Again, any specific prescription is beyond the scope of this paper; but if the words of so many familiar to the world economy are to be heeded, and if the conclusions reached here are to be believed, then there is no doubt that some medicine is in order.
Barnett, W.P. and McKendrick, D. (2001) The Organizational Evolution of Global Technological Competition (Research Paper No. 1682). Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Retrieved December 3, 2008 from: http://repositories.cdlib.org/isic/sidas/ISICReport-2001-02/
Birch, L.C. (1957) The Meanings of Competition. The American Naturalist. (91), 856:5-18.
Bronstein, J.L. (1994) Our Current Understanding of Mutualism. The Quarterly Review of Biology. (69), 1:31-51.
Brown, W. L. and E. O. Wilson. (1956) Character displacement. Systematic Zoology. 5:49-64.
Cohen, A.N., and J.T. Carlton. (1998) Accelerating Invasion Rate in a Highly Invaded Estuary. Science. 279:555-558.
Connell, J.H. (1961) The Influence of Interspecific Competition and Other Factors on the Distribution of the Barnacle Chthamalus stellatus. Ecology. 42:710-723.
Connell, J.H. (1983) On the Prevalence and Relative Importance of Interspecific Competition: Evidence from Field Experiments. The American Naturalist. (122), 5:661-696.
Darwin, Charles R. (1859 ) On the Origin of Species. A Facsimile of the First Edition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
denBoer, P.J. (1986) The Present Status of the Competitive Exclusion Principle. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 1:25-28.
Dimmick, J. (2006) Media Competition and Levels of Analysis. In Albarran, A.B., Chan-Olmsted, S.M., and Wirth, M.O. (Eds.) Handbook of Media Management And Economics (pp 345-362). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.
Elliot, D. (2008, November 22). Big Tobacco Seeks Safer Cigarettes. National Public Radio. Retrieved December 6, 2008, from: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=97176869
Hardin, G. (1960) The Competitive Exclusion Principle. Science. 131:1292-1297.
Heilbroner, R.L. (1986) The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times and Ideas of the Great Economic Thinkers (6th ed.). New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Lennox, J.G. and B.E Wilson. (1994) Natural Selection and the Struggle for Existence. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science. (25), 1:65-80.
Ma, J. and Levin, S.A. (2006) The Evolution of Resource Adaptation: How Generalist and Specialist Consumers Evolve. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology. 68:1111-1123.
Mankiw, N.G. (2004) Principles of Macroeconomics (3rd ed.). United States of America: Thomson South-Western.
McClure, M.S. and P.W. Price. (1975) Competition Among Sympatric Erythroneura Leaf-Hoppers (Homoptera: Cicadellidae) on American Sycamore. Ecology. 56:1388-1397.
Molles, M.C. (2008) Ecology: Concepts & Applications (4th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.
Park, T. 1954. Experimental Studies of Interspecies Competition. II. Temperature, Humidity, and Competition in Two Species of Tribolium. Physical Zoology. 27:177–238.
Quinn, G. (2008, November 22). Canada’s Carney Says Some Bankers Focused on Opera, Not Lending. Bloomberg.com. Retrieved December 6, 2008, from: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aEw8SqpZb1t4&refer=home
Schumpeter, J.A. (1983) The Theory of Economic Development: An Inquiry Into Profits, Capital, Credit, Interest, and the Business Cycle. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.
Seaton, A. P. C., and Antonovics, J. (1967) Population Inter-Relationships. I. Evolution in Mixtures of Drosophila Mutants. Heredity. 22:19-33.
Smith, Adam. (1776 ) An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Complete in One Volume. London: T. Nelson and Sons.
Smith, M.L., Bruhn, J.N, and Anderson, J.B. (1992) The Fungus Armillaria bulbosa is Among the Largest and Oldest Living Organisms. Nature. 356:428-431.
Taleb, N.N. (2007) The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. New York: Random House.
Terrapinn, (2006) Hedge Funds World Middle East 2006. Retrieved December 6, 2008, from: http://www.terrapinn.com/2006/hfw_AE/SpeakerList.stm
Thomas, C.M. and Nielsen, K.M. (2005) Mechanisms of, and Barriers to, Horizontal Gene Transfer Between Bacteria. Nature Reviews: Microbiology. 3:711-721.
White, M.C. (2008, September 19). What Is a Moral Hazard: The Economic Reasoning Behind Bailout or No Bailout. The Big Money. Retrieved December 6, 2008, from: http://www.thebigmoney.com/articles/moral-hazard/2008/09/19/what-moral-hazard