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Veblen's "Instinct of Workmanship," its Cognitive Foundations, and Some Implications for Economic Theory

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  • Christian Cordes

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Abstract

This paper delivers some findings from the present-day cognitive sciences on man’s cognitive dispositions that support aspects of Veblen’s "nstinct of workmanship," which is an essential starting point of his evolutionary theory of institutional change. These cognitive dispositions partly govern which information will be subject to profound contemplation and be easy to disseminate within a population. Furthermore, they may give rise to a bias in human creativity. As a result, some cognitive foundations of the "nstinct of workmanship" may induce a general direction in long-term economic development by influencing the continuous accretion of knowledge during cultural evolution.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Cordes, 2004. "Veblen's "Instinct of Workmanship," its Cognitive Foundations, and Some Implications for Economic Theory," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2004-01, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  • Handle: RePEc:esi:evopap:2004-01
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Boyd, Robert & Richerson, Peter J., 1980. "Sociobiology, culture and economic theory," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 97-121, June.
    2. Olivier Brette, 2003. "Thorstein Veblen's theory of institutional change: beyond technological determinism," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(3), pages 455-477.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Christian Cordes & Peter J. Richerson & Richard McElreath & Pontus Strimling, 2006. "How Does Opportunistic Behavior Influence Firm Size?," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2006-18, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
    2. Christian Cordes, 2007. "The Role of Biology and Culture in Veblenian Consumption Dynamics," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2007-13, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
    3. Felipe Almeida, 2016. "Society and brain: A complementary approach to Thorstein Veblen’s conspicuous consumer based on Tibor Scitovsky’s neuropsychology [Society and brain: A complementary approach to Thorstein Veblen’s con," Nova Economia, Economics Department, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Brazil), vol. 26(2), pages 347-367, May-Augus.
    4. Christian Cordes, 2012. "Emergent Cultural Phenomena and their Cognitive Foundations," Chapters,in: Evolution, Organization and Economic Behavior, chapter 3 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Ciarli, Tommaso & Parto, Saeed & Savona, Maria, 2010. "Conflict and Entrepreneurial Activity in Afghanistan: Findings from the National Risk Vulnerability Assessment Data," WIDER Working Paper Series 008, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    6. Christian Cordes, 2006. "Darwinism in economics: from analogy to continuity," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 16(5), pages 529-541, December.
    7. Guido Buenstorf & Christian Cordes, 2007. "Can Sustainable Consumption Be Learned?," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2007-06, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
    8. Cordes, Christian & Richerson, Peter J. & McElreath, Richard & Strimling, Pontus, 2008. "A naturalistic approach to the theory of the firm: The role of cooperation and cultural evolution," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 125-139, October.
    9. Christian Cordes, 2012. "Emergent Cultural Phenomena and their Cognitive Foundations," Chapters,in: Evolution, Organization and Economic Behavior, chapter 3 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    10. Guglielmo Forges Davanzati, 2016. "Thorstein Veblen on the nature of the firm and income distribution," Working Papers PKWP1618, Post Keynesian Economics Study Group (PKSG).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    human instincts; technological change; institutional change; longterm economic development; evolutionary economics;

    JEL classification:

    • B15 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
    • B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • E11 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Marxian; Sraffian; Kaleckian

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