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Innovation, Changes of Techno-Economic Paradigm and Biological Analogies in Economics

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  • Christopher Freeman
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    [eng] Innovation, changes of techno-economic paradigm and biological analogies in economics This paper discusses the use of biological analogies in the theory of evolutionary economics. Whilst recognising the positive role of such analogies in stimulating an historical approach to economic Systems and whilst also recognising that selective processes do indeed play an important part in the development of science and technology, the paper nevertheless argues that there are serious dangers in pushing the biological analogy too far. Not only is the social environment much more complex than the natural environment but the role of purposive intervention is altogether different in the evolution of technology. Economists and other social scientists therefore have no other alternative but to leave the models of the natural sciences, whether mechanical or biological, and develop their own models appropriate to the Systems which they investigate. One such possible approach is the notion of the techno-economic paradigm. [fre] Innovation, Changes of Techno-Economic Paradigm and Biological Analogies in Economies Quelle place faut-il donner aux analogies biologiques dans la théorie de l'économie évolutionniste ? Tout en reconnaissant le rôle positif de telles analogies dans la mesure où elles stimulent le développement d'une approche historique des systèmes économiques et l'importance des processus sélectifs dans le développement de la science et de la technologie, l'article explique pourquoi pousser trop loin l'analogie biologique présente de très sérieux dangers. Non seulement le milieu social est beaucoup plus complexe que le milieu naturel, mais le rôle de l'intervention intentionnelle est tout à fait différent dans l'évolution de la technologie. Les économistes et théoriciens des sciences sociales n'ont par conséquent pas d'autres alternatives que d'abandonner les modèles des sciences de la nature, qu'ils savent mécaniques ou biologiques, pour construire leurs propres modèles adaptés aux systèmes qu'ils étudient. Une approche possible est la notion de paradigme techno-économique.

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    Article provided by Programme National Persée in its journal Revue économique.

    Volume (Year): 42 (1991)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 211-232

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    Handle: RePEc:prs:reveco:reco_0035-2764_1991_num_42_2_409276
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    1. Sahal, Devendra, 1985. "Technological guideposts and innovation avenues," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 61-82, April.
    2. Pavitt, Keith, 1984. "Sectoral patterns of technical change: Towards a taxonomy and a theory," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(6), pages 343-373, December.
    3. 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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