Optimizing for the wrong things

Maybe we are optimizing for the wrong things. Maybe efficiency isn’t as important effectiveness.

According to the Wikipedia page on photosynthetic efficiency, typical plants have a radiant energy to chemical energy conversion efficiency of between 0.1% and 2%. And yet all human life depends upon the oxygen provided by these inefficient plants. Efficient? Clearly no, but very effective at sustaining life.

How do you measure success?