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Desert Diary
Culture/Kill the Competition


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Living in a capitalistic society, we tend to hear a lot about competition and how good it is for the economy. And, generally speaking, it is good for the consumer. But producers know a nasty little fact that most consumers don't really take in—all companies in a competitive situation are the losers for it. Resources—customers in this case—are limited, and with competition, nobody gets as much of the resource pie as they desire. Accordingly, most companies will do almost anything to reduce or eliminate the competition.

Much the same principle is at work in nature. If a resource necessary for survival, such as food, is limited, there are relatively few avenues for relief. On a long-term scale, natural selection may improve the efficiency with which the resource is harvested, though this often merely results in the status quo as each of the competitors evolves. Some competitors practice literally what many companies practice figuratively: kill the opposition. Thus a coyote will kill a cat, given the opportunity, just as a wolf will kill a coyote. Fewer competitors, more resources. Simple!
pen and ink

Listen to the Audio (mp3 format) as recorded by KTEP, Public Radio for the Southwest.


Contributor: Arthur H. Harris, Laboratory for Environmental Biology, Centennial Museum, University of Texas at El Paso.

Desert Diary is a joint production of the Centennial Museum and KTEP National Public Radio at the University of Texas at El Paso. rule