The Shirky Principle

Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution.

—Clay Shirky (via Kevin Kelly)

Not just institutions; the principle applies to people as well.

Give a man a fish, he lives for a day; teach a man to fish and you’ve just killed your market.

For “fish,” feel free to substitute “genetically modified grains,” etc.

The most conserved feature of a cultural\economic social institution is likely to be the particular method of re-production that is unique to that group : the genesis of that particular class of institution ( just as as it is with life) .
Marsupials for example have over the past few 100 thousand years varied enormously. Some grew to 3 tonnes, some shrank to a few grams , some ‘possum like’ types evolved into formidable predators -150 kilos with quite possibly the most powerful bite of any animal ever, and some kangaroos adapted to a life in back the trees. The method of reproduction unique to this group of diverse sets of adaptions to different environments changed little.