Economic Cosmology and the Evolutionary Challenge
AbstractThe intellectual histories of economics and evolutionary biology are closely intertwined because both subjects deal with living, complex, evolving systems. Because the subject matter is similar, contemporary evolutionary thought has much to offer to economics. In recent decades theoretical biology has progressed faster than economics in understanding phenomena like hierarchical processes, cooperative behavior, and selection processes in evolutionary change. This paper discusses three very old "cosmologies" in Western thought, how these play out in economic theory, and how evolutionary biology can help evaluate their validity and policy relevance. These cosmologies, as manifested in economic theory are, (1) rational economic man, (2) the invisible hand of the market, and (3) the existence of a general competitive equilibrium. It is argued below that current breakthroughs in evolutionary biology and neuroscience can help economics go beyond these simple cosmologies.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group in its series Papers on Economics and Evolution with number 2012-12.
Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 12 Jun 2012
Date of revision:
Other versions of this item:
- B11 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Preclassical (Ancient, Medieval, Mercantilist, Physiocratic)
- B12 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Classical (includes Adam Smith)
- B15 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
- B40 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - General
- B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Institutional; Evolutionary
- D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, and Operations
- D - Microeconomics
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-06-25 (All new papers)
- NEP-EVO-2012-06-25 (Evolutionary Economics)
- NEP-HME-2012-06-25 (Heterodox Microeconomics)
- NEP-HPE-2012-06-25 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-PKE-2012-06-25 (Post Keynesian Economics)
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