The Role of Passionate Individuals in Economic Development
AbstractIn this paper, I merge two theories -- theory of "passionate individuals" by Gumilev(1989) and Memetics by Dawkins(1976) - to develop a formal growth theory that states that societies become more developed when their members have more intrinsic motivation to solve problems of social importance (i.e. make "cultural contributions"). Individuals derive utility from genetic fitness (i.e. the number of surviving children) as well as from cultural fitness, defined as the amount of appreciation ("honor") of one's cultural contribution by future generations. To make a cultural contribution, one must study/honor cultural contributions of the past, which leads to multiple steady states. In the survival steady state, individuals expect that no one in the future will be interested in their cultural contribution, which makes them allocate all energy onto maximization of genetic fitness and care little about cultural contributions of the past. In the passionate steady state, individuals expect high appreciation of their cultural contribution and thus spend a lot of energy onto making such a contribution, which makes them highly appreciate cultural contributions of the past. Empirical implications of theory are also discussed.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 28552.
Date of creation: 01 Feb 2011
Date of revision:
passionate individuals; human values; poverty traps; memetics; economic growth;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- O11 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
- O49 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Other
- Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Social and Economic Stratification
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-02-12 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2011-02-12 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-CUL-2011-02-12 (Cultural Economics)
- NEP-DEV-2011-02-12 (Development)
- NEP-EVO-2011-02-12 (Evolutionary Economics)
- NEP-HPE-2011-02-12 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-SOC-2011-02-12 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
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