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The Road to Complexity: Why Should Economics Follow Physics


  • Varela Cabo, Luis M.
  • Ricoy Riego, Carlos J.


In this contribution we will show that the mainstream of contemporary economics, after its initial development in XIXth century analytical and conceptual framework of classical Physics, is still anchored to its conceptual core, the general equilibrium theory, neglecting the evolution of physics itself towards the treatment of complex systems, and even the nature of its own knowledge object. For that, after a short summary of classical physics formalism and of the own neoclassical economics, we will analyze the evolution of both disciplines throughout the last century, with particular attention being focused on the development of thermodynamics from its original equilibrium formalism until the formalization of the concept of dissipative structures in nonlinear thermodynamics. Finally, we outpoint some lines along which we consider the adaptation of economics to contemporary physics must be done.

Suggested Citation

  • Varela Cabo, Luis M. & Ricoy Riego, Carlos J., 2012. "The Road to Complexity: Why Should Economics Follow Physics," Revista Galega de Economía, University of Santiago de Compostela. Faculty of Economics and Business., vol. 21(1).
  • Handle: RePEc:sdo:regaec:v:21:y:2012:i:1_bt3

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