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Survival of the Most Foolish of Fools: The Limits of Evolutionary Selection Theory

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  • Elias Khalil

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Abstract

The paper investigates whether evolutionary selection, in nature or the market, ensures the survival of rational agents. It argues that once rationality appears, evolutionary selection can account for its diffusion—but cannot account for its appearance in the first place. This issue differs from the investigation of whether history matters. The issue of history or path-dependency focuses on whether evolutionary selection can favor the survival of the potentially most productive apparatus (in the biological or technological sense). To show this, the paper commences with the much-neglected difference between efficiency and productivity. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Suggested Citation

  • Elias Khalil, 2000. "Survival of the Most Foolish of Fools: The Limits of Evolutionary Selection Theory," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 203-220, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbioec:v:2:y:2000:i:3:p:203-220 DOI: 10.1023/A:1012230728158
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Metcalfe, J S, 1994. "Competition, Fisher's Principle and Increasing Returns in the Selection Process," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 4(4), pages 327-346, November.
    2. Bester, Helmut & Guth, Werner, 1998. "Is altruism evolutionarily stable?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 193-209, February.
    3. Sidney G. Winter, 1964. "Economic "Natural Selection" and the Theory of the Firm," LEM Chapters Series,in: Yale Economic Essays, pages 225-272 Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    4. Schaffer, Mark E., 1989. "Are profit-maximisers the best survivors? : A Darwinian model of economic natural selection," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 29-45, August.
    5. Elias L. Khalil, 1997. "Chaos Theory Versus Heisenberg's Uncertainty: Risk, Uncertainty and Economic Theory," The American Economist, Sage Publications, vol. 41(2), pages 27-40, October.
    6. Elias L. Khalil, 1999. "The Janus Hypothesis," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 21(2), pages 315-342, January.
    7. David, Paul A, 1985. "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 332-337, May.
    8. Conlisk, John, 1980. "Costly optimizers versus cheap imitators," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 275-293, September.
    9. Elias L. Khalil, 2002. "Information, Knowledge and the Close of Friedrich Hayek's System: A Comment," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 28(3), pages 319-341, Summer.
    10. Robson, Arthur J., 1996. "The Evolution of Attitudes to Risk: Lottery Tickets and Relative Wealth," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 190-207, June.
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    12. Hodgson, Geoffrey M, 1994. "Optimisation and Evolution: Winter's Critique of Friedman Revisited," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(4), pages 413-430, August.
    13. Neil Kay, 1995. "Alchian and 'the Alchian thesis'," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(2), pages 281-286.
    14. Khalil, Elias L, 1996. "Non-linear Dynamics versus Development Processes: Two Kinds of Change," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 64(3), pages 309-322, September.
    15. Witt, Ulrich, 1986. "Firms' market behavior under imperfect information and economic natural selection," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 265-290, September.
    16. Giovanni Dosi & Christopher Freeman & Richard Nelson & Gerarld Silverberg & Luc Soete (ed.), 1988. "Technical Change and Economic Theory," LEM Book Series, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy, number dosietal-1988, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sammut-Bonnici, Tanya & Wensley, Robin, 2002. "Darwinism, probability and complexity: market- based organizational transformation and change explained through the theories of evolution," MPRA Paper 50979, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Metcalfe, John S. & Ramlogan, Ronnie & Uyarra, E., 2002. "Economic Development and the Competitive Process," Centre on Regulation and Competition (CRC) Working papers 30612, University of Manchester, Institute for Development Policy and Management (IDPM).
    3. Deby Cassill, 2003. "Skew Selection: Nature Favors a Trickle-Down Distribution of Resources in Ants," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 83-96, May.
    4. J. Metcalfe, 2002. "On the Optimality of the Competitive Process: Kimura's Theorem and Market Dynamics," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 109-133, May.

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