Special Issue: Aspects of Game Theory and Institutional Economics
Classical economists from Adam Smith to Thomas Malthus and to Karl Marx have considered the importance of direct interdependence and direct interactions for the economy. This was even more the case for original institutionalist thinkers such as Thorstein Veblen, John Commons, and Clarence Ayres. In their writings, direct interdependence, interactions (or transactions) among agents, with all beneficial and with all problematic consequences, took center stage in economic analysis. Why, for instance, do people adhere to a particular new fashion or trend? Because others do, after eminent people, wealthy people, the “leisure class” (T. Veblen), have made it a symbol for status. The new fashion, however, ceases to serve as such a symbol once too many people follow it. The constant effort put into following trends and adopting fashion turns out to be a social dilemma , driven by Veblenian instincts, such as invidious distinction in predatory societies, conspicuous consumption and emulation. [...]
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