‘The arc of life’ has been a Darwinian process.
We use the term Darwinian process, for lack of a better term, to describe the constant-random-modifications of life that are always underway. This groundwork of modification becomes the basis for adaptation to new environments when the environment changes.
The planet, its atmosphere, surface. temperature and nearly every detail of physics has had large magnitudes of change. 'The arc of life' has been the Darwinian adaptation mechanism for survival in these radical periods of change. One consequence has been the extraordinary diversity of species, in the millions of species and extraordinary diversity of niches to accommodate to.
Commerce can justifiably be called a subset of the arc of life, it is ‘The arc of human development’. It seems that many species trade goods and services voluntarily. Primates groom each other. So do elephants. Humans voluntarily trade goods and services at orders of magnitude greater than any other species.
I have observed that this is the human attribute that has allowed our species to live in nearly every niche on the planet and expand our population at significant rates. This expansion was nominal for the past two thousand years as pestilence and starvation set a limit on human populations.
With the development of industrial commerce, 200 year ago, the human population has expanded at an even greater rate than before. 'The arc of human development' incorporated the unique attributes of commerce to our species: meritocracy, diversity, openness and preference for markets. These in turn gave us engineering and medicine to reduce pestilence and starvation in the parts of the world where industrial commerce thrives.
Some parts of the four components of commerce are found in other species.
* The multiple specialized functions of ants and bees in their colonies parallel human diversity. And occurs in plants in leaves, flowers, stems and trunks.
* Openness seems to be inherent in the communication within pods, packs and clusters of many species.
There may be something comparable to markets in some non-human species, I don’t know of any.
Commerce is a Darwinian process. The market is perpetually presenting different and often novel products, services and organizational structures. These are always subject to survival threats in different environments. Expansion and extinction are always at play in open markets. The horse and its accoutrements were in vogue for transportation for several centuries. Replaced by several petroleum burning machines and their accoutrements.
It is fair to call commerce, the source of our planetary survival now and in the future, ‘the arc of human development’.