Monkeys Participate in the Free Market

Or - I'm a right wing pundit.

Seriously though. From Aid Watch via NPR:

"In a recent experiment, a team of scientists trained a vervet monkey to open a container of apples, a task no other monkey in her group could do. She was well-compensated for this service by the other monkeys, who began to spend a lot of time grooming her (apparently, grooming is the monkey unit of exchange). Then, the scientists trained another monkey in the group to get the apples, and the “price” for the service (ie the amount of grooming the apple-providing monkeys received) went down. NPR Correspondent Alex Bloomberg explained:

[W]hen there was a monkey monopoly on the skill, the monkeys paid one price. But when it became a duopoly, the price fell to an equilibrium point, about half of what it had been. And this all happened despite the fact that we’re talking about monkeys here. Monkeys can’t do math.

What’s the point, other than research studies are really bizarre? Acquiring a sought-after new job skill leads to a higher income, even among monkeys. And, monkey markets can still set prices, even though the market participants can’t add, sign contracts, or talk. And, perhaps, complex markets can be the product of an unintentional, spontaneous order: Out of the chaos of many monkeys running around hitting one another on the heads, pulling nits off each other’s fur, following only the simple rules of monkey hierarchies and monkey appetites…a functioning market emerges."

Of course this serves my ideas which is why I'm drawn to this study. None the less, it is interesting supporting evidence for the existence of a market economy in the absence of any structured economic system. As I've said before - a market economy is what happens when nothing else exists to take its place. Although I understand the many downsides of capitalism, it is essentially brutal evolution after all, I don't understand the criticism. It's just what is. No one criticizes the water cycle or electromagnetism, so what gives? My hunch is that it's another case of people confusing/not understanding issues (as if I really do either). It's like getting mad at Muslims when really you're mad at extremist religions.