--- John Kay, Culture and Prosperity: Why Some Nations Are Rich but Most Remain Poor (2005), quoted by Andrew Taylor in his post Evolution vs. adaptation vs. ultimate good
In the blog Taylor gives a slightly longer quote: "Evolution favours what is good at replicating itself, rather than what is good. This fundamental distinction is essential to understanding any evolving system."
"We can easily see in human history (and I see it in my own biases) a presumption that evolving systems slowly create better results. We've used the argument in reinforcing the supremacy of humans on the earth (animals and nature are in service to man, because man was the one to evolve the best). And we often use the bundled assumption in describing healthy organizations -- in the arts and elsewhere.
"But Kay's simple point cuts to the heart of these assumptions. Evolution -- and even adaptation -- are extraordinarily effective at advancing what can be replicated. But they have nothing to do with selecting and advancing the best responses for any larger challenge. In fact, established organizational cultures are highly effective at perpetuating themselves through these very systems."