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Did Veblen Generalize Darwinism (And Why Does It Matter)?


  • Cyril Hédoin


This paper examines the claim that Veblen's theory of cultural evolution has generalized Darwinian principles to socioeconomic phenomena. Our argument takes place in the debate around "generalized Darwinism" in evolutionary and institutional economics. We claim that Veblen frequently relied on the concept of selection and considered institutions both as units and as factors of selection. We also argue that some of Veblen's insights can be clarified by expressing them in evolutionary-game theoretic terms. Thus, we suggest a close connection between the ontological framework of generalized Darwinism and the technical study of evolutionary phenomena through evolutionary game theory.

Suggested Citation

  • Cyril Hédoin, 2010. "Did Veblen Generalize Darwinism (And Why Does It Matter)?," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(4), pages 963-990.
  • Handle: RePEc:mes:jeciss:v:44:y:2010:i:4:p:963-990 DOI: 10.2753/JEI0021-3624440406

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. de Cecco, Marcello, 1979. "Origins of the Post-War Payments System," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(1), pages 49-61, March.
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    3. Markwell, Donald, 2006. "John Maynard Keynes and International Relations: Economic Paths to War and Peace," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198292364, June.
    4. Mario Cedrini, 2008. "Consensus versus freedom or consensus upon freedom? from Washington disorder to the rediscovery of Keynes," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 30(4), pages 499-522, July.
    5. J. B. Davis, 1990. "Keynes and Organicism," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 12(2), pages 308-315, January.
    6. Anna Maria Carabelli & Mario Aldo Cedrini, 2007. "Current Global Imbalances: Might Keynes Be of Help?," Working Papers 113, SEMEQ Department - Faculty of Economics - University of Eastern Piedmont.
    7. Anna Carabelli, 1998. "Keynes on Probability, Uncertainty and Tragic Choices," Cahiers d'Économie Politique, Programme National Persée, vol. 30(1), pages 187-226.
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