Dr. Anthony M. Criniti IV’s The Survival of the Richest, aims to blend concepts from biology, finance and economics to explore the relationship between survival and wealth.
Criniti’s book focuses primarily on the survival of human society and makes the case that those societies with the most options have the greatest chance of survival. It further posits that those with the most wealth can afford the greatest options; thus, these societies have the best chance of survival. Wealth is considered in the classical economic sense, and the author’s argument assumes that controlling wealth requires owning wealth. The bleak reality it implies is that change depends on how the wealthy align their resources.
The author’s arguments are logically constructed (although at times Criniti provides far more background information than needed for the point). Criniti’s analysis, however, overlooks several important factors.
First, the author aims to apply the elements of species survival to societal survival. But species survival requires the examination of multiple disciplines, including meteorology, geography and so on. Interactions between these disciplines go far beyond aligning the resources of the very wealthy and can also impact societies. For example, ocean acidification could change the availability of seafood and put communities at risk that rely on the sea for survival.
Additionally, entrepreneurial studies demonstrate that it’s not ownership of assets, but control of assets that determines how and where they will be deployed, and which sub-population they will benefit.
Finally, when considering survival of societies, historical events have shown that determined underprivileged groups can—and have—organized to create major long-term structural and societal changes (consider the French Revolution, for instance). Thus, the analysis this work provides seems incomplete.
A deeper dive into the topic would have been more useful. Still, Criniti introduces an important idea, and his book could serve as a helpful jumping-off point for further discussion.
Also available as an ebook.