“If Adam Smith had strapped on a bee suit—or a safari jacket, or a scuba mask—he could have discovered that the animal kingdom is, in fact, a chamber of commerce. ‘Biological markets are all over the place,’ says Ronald Noë, a Dutch biologist at the University of Strasbourg who first proposed the concept of the biological market in 1994. Scientists have since described biological markets in the African savannah, Central American rainforests, and the Great Barrier Reef. Baboons and other social primates exchange grooming for sex. Some plants and insects reward ants for protection. Cleaner wrasses eat parasites off other fish and behave more gently when a ‘client’ has the option of visiting a rival wrasse.”
Calling it economics, a system created by humans, might not be the right way to describe these engagements. But it is import to recognize that in living their lives, other animals partake in mutually beneficial exchanges.
Read the whole article here: https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2017-biological-markets/