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Diversity And Economic Evolution: Failures Of Competitive Economic Systems


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"This paper has two themes. First, diversity of relevant attributes driving the dynamics of socioeconomic systems, including industrial systems'is often needed to increase their likelihood of transiting to a superior state. However, systems left to their own devices do not always evolve to states where they possess sufficient or optimal diversity for further evolution or growth to a superior state. Evolutionary market mechanisms can be of this nature. Structural adjustment policies and globalization seem to be adding to industrial and other types of uniformity. Hence, real danger exists that global industrial structures influenced by field effects will become "piled up" and reduce the likelihood of the global economic system evolving to a superior economic state. Furthermore, diversity is an important driving force in other growth processes, e.g., those adding to the stock of knowledge. Second industrial diversity of techniques and behaviors may be potentially Paretian valuable as a means of optimal adjustment to continual technological change and as a manifestation of specialization according to differences in individual abilities and in those of organizations. Insofar as attempts at benchmarking try to ensure uniform adoption of "best practice" in industry, they are likely to be doubly damaging because short-run potential Paretian benefits are forgone, and in stifling industrial diversity they may also undermine industrial diversity as a source of future economic growth. (JEL" D00, D89, O30, 014) Copyright 1999 Western Economic Association International.

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Article provided by Western Economic Association International in its journal Contemporary Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 17 (1999)
Issue (Month): 2 (04)
Pages: 156-165

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Handle: RePEc:bla:coecpo:v:17:y:1999:i:2:p:156-165

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Cited by:
  1. Tisdell, Clement A. & Seidl, Irmi, 2001. "Niches and Economic Competition: Implications for Economic Efficiency, Growth and Diversity," Economic Theory, Applications and Issues Working Papers, University of Queensland, School of Economics 90508, University of Queensland, School of Economics.
  2. Tisdell, Clement A., 2011. "Economics, Ecology and GMOs: Sustainability, Precaution and Related Issues," Economics, Ecology and Environment Working Papers, University of Queensland, School of Economics 122726, University of Queensland, School of Economics.
  3. Tisdell, Clement A., 2001. "Competition, Evolution and Optimisation: Comparisons of Models in Economics and Ecology," Economics, Ecology and Environment Working Papers, University of Queensland, School of Economics 48384, University of Queensland, School of Economics.
  4. Jeroen van den Bergh & John Gowdy, 2000. "Evolutionary Theories in Environmental and Resource Economics: Approaches and Applications," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 17(1), pages 37-57, September.
  5. Tisdell, Clement A., 2000. "Globalisation, WTO and Sustainable Development," Economics, Ecology and Environment Working Papers, University of Queensland, School of Economics 48009, University of Queensland, School of Economics.


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