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Economic Emergence: an Evolutionary Economic Perspective

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  • John Foster
  • J. Stan Metcalfe

Abstract

The standard neoclassical approach to economic theorizing excludes, by definition, economic emergence and the related phenomenon of entrepreneurship. We explore how the most economic of human behaviours, entrepreneurship, came to be largely excluded from mainstream economic theory. In contrast, we report that evolutionary economists have acknowledged the importance of understanding emergence and we explore the advances that have been made in this regard. We go on to argue that evolutionary economics can make further progress by taking a more 'naturalistic' approach to economic evolution. This requires that economic analysis be fully embedded in complex economic system theory and that associated understandings as to how humans react to states of uncertainty be explicitly dealt with. We argue that 'knowledge,' because of the existence of uncertainty is, to a large degree 'conjectural' and, thus, is closely linked to our emotional states. Our economic behaviour is also influenced by the reality that we, and the systems that we create, are dissipative structures. Thus, we introduce the notions of 'energy gradients' and 'knowledge gradients' as essential concepts in understanding economic emergence and resultant economic growth.

Suggested Citation

  • John Foster & J. Stan Metcalfe, 2011. "Economic Emergence: an Evolutionary Economic Perspective," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2011-12, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
  • Handle: RePEc:esi:evopap:2011-12
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. John Foster, 2014. "Energy, knowledge and economic growth," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 209-238, April.
    2. Sidali, Katia Laura & Sokoli, Olta & Scaramuzzi, Silvia & Dorr, Andrea Christina, 2014. "Creating sub-consortia as a means of counteracting changes to specification sheets: the case of Parmigiano Reggiano," 2014 International Congress, August 26-29, 2014, Ljubljana, Slovenia 183144, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    3. Cristiano Antonelli, 2017. "The Engines of the Creative Response: Reactivity and Knowledge Governance," Economía: teoría y práctica, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, México, vol. 47(2), pages 9-30, Julio-Dic.
    4. Duarte N. Leite & Sandra T. Silva & Oscar Afonso, 2014. "Institutions, Economics And The Development Quest," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(3), pages 491-515, July.
    5. repec:bla:scotjp:v:64:y:2017:i:4:p:392-418 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Yong Tao, 2016. "Spontaneous economic order," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 467-500, July.
    7. Gruszka, Katarzyna & Scharbert, Annika Regine & Soder, Michael, 2017. "Leaving the mainstream behind? Uncovering subjective understandings of economics instructors' roles," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 485-498.
    8. repec:eee:ecoser:v:10:y:2014:i:c:p:137-143 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Gallego-Bono, Juan Ramón & Chaves-Avila, Rafael, 2016. "Innovation cooperative systems and structural change: An evolutionary analysis of Anecoop and Mondragon cases," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(11), pages 4907-4911.
    10. Kaushal Mukherjee, 2016. "The Psychology of the Successful Entrepreneur," Post-Print hal-01484491, HAL.
    11. Yanjun Guo & Yansui Liu & Qi Wen & Yurui Li, 2014. "The Transformation of Agricultural Development towards a Sustainable Future from an Evolutionary View on the Chinese Loess Plateau: A Case Study of Fuxian County," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(6), pages 1-25, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Length 34 pages;

    JEL classification:

    • B15 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
    • B40 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - General
    • B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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