Economics with a Phylogenetic Signature
Ever since Darwin biologists have emphasised the commonalities between non-human and human species, while anthropologists have stressed the big difference between them. This paper not only endorses commonalities between species but takes them as a means to give extant phylogenetic differences a clear profile. It introduces the notion of universal culture, applicable to all phylogenies of culture-making species. Culture is defined as a system of socially generated and transmitted rules that allow their carrier cultural operations, economic operations taking centre stage in the study. Based on explorative induction – employing macaques washing sweet potatoes and 60,000-year-old ornamented ostrich eggs as exemplars – commonalities and differences between the cultures of non-human and human primates are highlighted. The hypothesis is advanced that non-human primates are capable of endosomatic culture, meaning that the origination of their culture is conditional upon a sensory nexus between the rule maker and the external referent; for instance, a tool rule is originated by inferring a tool function from the shape of a pre-existing stone. In contrast, humans can evolve exosomatic culture, as they possess the unique ability of imagination, which enables them to originate rules independent of any sensory nexus. Genetically equipped with the ability to use abstract language, humans can transmit rules both horizontally and vertically, not just as object-dependent templates but also as symbols. The possession of shared imagination is seen as representing the major proximate cause of the evolution of human culture, facilitating its distinctive economic operations.
|Date of creation:||18 Dec 2013|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.uni-marburg.de/fb19/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Kurt Dopfer, 2004. "The economic agent as rule maker and rule user: Homo Sapiens Oeconomicus," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 177-195, 06.
- Caroline Gerschlager, 2012. "Agents of change," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 413-441, July.
- Witt, Ulrich & Schwesinger, Georg, 2013.
"Phylogenetic footprints in organizational behavior,"
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Elsevier, vol. 90(S), pages S33-S44.
- Ulrich Witt & Georg Schwesinger, 2012. "Phylogenetic Footprints in Organizational Behavior," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2012-17, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
- Sylvie Geisendorf, 2009. "The economic concept of evolution: self-organization or Universal Darwinism?," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(4), pages 377-391.
- Safarzyńska, Karolina & Frenken, Koen & van den Bergh, Jeroen C.J.M., 2012. "Evolutionary theorizing and modeling of sustainability transitions," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 1011-1024.
- Bleda, Mercedes & del Río, Pablo, 2013. "The market failure and the systemic failure rationales in technological innovation systems," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(5), pages 1039-1052.
- Arthur J. Robson, 2002. "Evolution and Human Nature," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 89-106, Spring.
- Stoelhorst, J.W. & Richerson, Peter J., 2013. "A naturalistic theory of economic organization," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 90(S), pages S45-S56.
- McCloskey, Donald N, 1983. "The Rhetoric of Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 481-517, June.
- Thomas Grebel, 2012. "Network evolution in basic science," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 443-457, July.
- Christian Cordes, 2006.
"Darwinism in economics: from analogy to continuity,"
Journal of Evolutionary Economics,
Springer, vol. 16(5), pages 529-541, December.
- Christian Cordes, 2004. "Darwinism in Economics: From Analogy to Continuity," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2004-15, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
- Ostrom, Elinor & Basurto, Xavier, 2011. "Crafting analytical tools to study institutional change," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(03), pages 317-343, September.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:esi:evopap:2013-06. 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: (Christoph Mengs)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.