I for one am not surprised 

Recently it came out that the sugar industry has been manipulating data for decades to protect its financial interests to the detriment of the population’s health. This sparked the usual outrage, editorials, think pieces etc. etc.

Dr. Cristin Kearns

Dr. Cristin Kearns shed light on the sugar industry’s illegal actvities

I don’t understand why people continue to react with such anger and surprise. Mainly surprise.

This is how the system works. The structure of power and money creates an environment, a naturally selective ecology wherein it is and always will be more beneficial to cheat than to “play fair.”

Consider a theoretical savanna. There is a semi-intelligent species of primate that gathers berries from the ground. Because there is a limited number of berries, the tribe has created a rule that simply states “Individuals may only collect and eat 150 berries a day.” So, some of the primates keep to the rule and only collect and consume 150 berries a day. Some even collect less to try and make up for those who can’t collect more.

However, there are two other kinds of primates in this little theoretical savanna. They’re the cheaters. One cheater looks at the rule and learns how to twist it. They only eat 150 berries a day, but they collect way more than that, as many as they can possibly carry. Other primates may complain and gnash their teeth, but technically they’re following the rule, which clearly states “Individuals may only collect and eat 150 berries a day.” So for all intents and purposes they’re not actually cheating, but in reality they are definitely skewing the amount of berries the whole tribe can have.

The second kind of cheater just ignores the rule altogether. They collect and eat way more than 150 berries a day. If left unchecked by their peers, they’ll eat all the berries. They’ll also have a completely natural advantage over their peers, since they will be better nourished, their young will have a better chance of succeeding and they may even gain positions of power over the other members of their little tribe because they have so many berries.

So, it’s a dumb and overly simplistic illustration, but it proves the point. Cheating will always be the best way to succeed in a system of rules and laws. Oftentimes that cheating will lead to power and influence and the ability to change the rules of the game in the cheater’s favor.

Let me clarify, the cheaters aren’t immoral. They’re not evil. They’re working in a system that has proven to benefit their actions. They are acting intelligently. I’m not saying that cheaters like Enron and the sugar growers should be applauded. I’m saying their motivation isn’t a big surprise.

Lead in the water, illegal dumping, poaching, the devastation of the rain forests, spoiling of the Earth’s natural resources, are all caused by the system we’ve put in place as a species.

The answer isn’t more rules. The answer isn’t to kill or punish the cheaters. The answer is to fix the system. How do we do that?

Well, the fact of the matter is this system has been grown and shaped and perfected for thousands of years. So long as power benefited a select few who understood how to wield it, they shaped the world and the economic ecology of it to suit them and their offspring. It’s been the manifestation of financial natural selection. Darwin would be proud.


To truly fix it, we would have to scrap the current system of power and money. It’s not nearly as difficult as those with power and money would have you believe. When one human being can no longer exert control over another, and everyone gets what they need without any exceptions, we will have moved toward the next stage of our evolution as a species.

Rest assured, there will be no utopia. There will be no solution. It will be a constant experiment of trial and error. There is no “good” or “bad.” There is what works and what doesn’t. Right now, this way we’re living, doesn’t work. It doesn’t work for the majority of animals (humans and everything else) nor does it work for the planet we all live on together. It just doesn’t work.

It doesn’t surprise me that this happened again. Guess what, it is happening right now. I guarantee somewhere a corporation or conglomerate is twisting the law, breaking the law or lobbying to change the law so that they can profit. So long as profit is the most important goal to survival, this sort of scandal will keep happening. It is happening. When we change it, when we finally join our voices together and say “Enough is enough. This doesn’t work.” then I will be surprised. Pleasantly.