12 February 2009 marked 200 years since the birth of Charles Robert Darwin, the British naturalist most famous for his book On the Origin of Species, which celebrates its 150th anniversary in March this year. Denounced as tantamount to blasphemy upon publication, since the book’s theories of evolution and natural selection run in direct opposition to the Creationism, or Intelligent Design, espoused by the Christian faith, the Catholic church just announced that Darwin may have had a point after all. Conceding that the Church had been hostile to Darwin because his theory appeared to conflict with the account of creation in Genesis, the Vatican Council’s Archbishop Ravasi recently argued that biological evolution and the Christian view of Creation were complementary. And there are many reasons why Darwin’s theories are especially relevant in the current economic climate. The phrase ‘survival of the fittest’ has been used by most TV and media executives interviewed in the last few months. Those well-established entertainment brands with the most viewer and advertiser loyalty will at least survive, while the newer entrants may struggle or even fall foul of the ‘last in first out’ rule of thumb. And execs wishing to deflect journalistic interest in their own internal conflicts have been quick to point the finger at rival networks as the rumour mill cranks into overdrive. On a slightly more optimistic note, however, the Darwinian notion of evolution has also been mentioned very frequently of late as a key to surviving the current dramatic downturn. Digitization, increased measurability, adding value – ultimately evolving to meet the needs of one’s customers – seems to be the core lesson for all of us in these economically bleak times.
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