IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Mainstream Efforts to Tell a Better Story - Natural Selection as a Misplaced Metaphor: The Problem of Corporate Power

  • John P. Watkins

Darwin uses natural selection in two different senses. Struggle for existence refers to rivalry; survival of the fittest refers to surviving environmental changes. The mainstream vision of economic harmony requires casting natural selection as survival of the fittest. There is no struggle, no conflict. Mainstream economics depicts the selector in the evolutionary game as the firm itself. The mainstream vision requires banishing corporate power and the technological basis of power. For Veblen, corporate power is central. The existence of power implies that among firms, selection assumes the form of struggle. Evolutionary game theory breaks with the mainstream vision; firms are rivals. Evolutionary game theory, however, lacks the "stories" that provide a mapping between theory and reality, something institutionalists are well-positioned to provide. Stories are necessary for understanding corporate power, its origins, its use, and its limitations.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by M.E. Sharpe, Inc. in its journal Journal of Economic Issues.

Volume (Year): 44 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 991-1008

in new window

Handle: RePEc:mes:jeciss:v:44:y:2010:i:4:p:991-1008
Contact details of provider: Web page:

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mes:jeciss:v:44:y:2010:i:4:p:991-1008. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ian Winship)

or (Chris Nguyen)

The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Chris Nguyen to update the entry or send us the correct address

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.