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A holonic framework to understand and apply information processes in evolutionary economics: survey and proposal

Author

Listed:
  • A. Madureira

    (Delft University of Technology)

  • F. Hartog

    (TNO)

  • N. Baken

    (Delft University of Technology
    Royal KPN)

Abstract

Economists unsatisfied with the basic neoclassical assumptions of rational economic actors and economic evolution towards equilibrium states founded the evolutionary economic approach. Their goal was to provide more realistic assumptions regarding economic agents and their institutional environments. The Modern Synthesis (MS), the current conceptual paradigm for biological evolution, was used as a source of inspiration for conceptual development. Along the biologically inspired line of thought, the Generalized Darwinism (GD) initiative relies on the abstraction of the MS to provide a unifying conceptual framework for evolutionary economics. Despite its merits, GD has been subject to criticism, particularly regarding its level of abstractness and lack of an explicit account of the social and cognitive processes that drive economic evolution. The goal of this article is to introduce and explore an alternative conceptual framework for evolutionary economics: the Holonic Framework (HF). Contrary to GD, the HF is not biologically inspired, but builds upon the body of literature on the value of digital information networks. We discuss the analytical strengths and limitations of the HF relative to GD in light of several aspects pertinent to evolutionary economics (e.g. self-organization, culture, cognition, cooperation). Finally, by referring to an operationalization of the HF using Eurostat data, we show its practical strengths in comparison to GD.

Suggested Citation

  • A. Madureira & F. Hartog & N. Baken, 2016. "A holonic framework to understand and apply information processes in evolutionary economics: survey and proposal," Netnomics, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 157-190, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:netnom:v:17:y:2016:i:2:d:10.1007_s11066-016-9107-1
    DOI: 10.1007/s11066-016-9107-1
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