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Signs of reality - reality of signs. Explorations of a pending revolution in political economy


  • Hanappi, Hardy


This paper explores the interaction between the world of information processes in human society and the non-information dynamics, which the latter set out to understand. This broad topic is approached with a focus on evolutionary political economy: It turns out that progress in this scientific discipline seems to depend crucially on a methodological revolution reframing this above mentioned interplay. The paper consists of three parts. After a brief introduction, which sketches the position of the argument in the current epistemological discourse, part 1 sets out to describe the basic methodological ingredients used by evolutionary political economy to describe the ‘reality’ of socioeconomic dynamics. Part 2 jumps to the world of languages used and proposes a rather radical break with the received apparatus of analytical mathematics used so successfully in sciences studying non-living phenomena. The development of procedural simulation languages should substitute inadequate mathematical formalizations, some examples are provided. Part 3 then returns to ‘reality’ dynamics, but now incorporates the interaction with the information sphere in a small algorithmic model. This model – like the introduction - again makes visible the relationships to earlier research in the field. Instead of a conclusion – several, hopefully innovative ideas are provided in passing, throughout the paper - an epilogue is provided, which tries to indicate the implications of this methodological paper for political practice in face of the current global crisis.

Suggested Citation

  • Hanappi, Hardy, 2011. "Signs of reality - reality of signs. Explorations of a pending revolution in political economy," MPRA Paper 31570, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:31570

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David Colander, 2010. "The economics profession, the financial crisis, and method," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(4), pages 419-427.
    2. Amitava Krishna Dutt, 2011. "The role of aggregate demand in classical-Marxian models of economic growth," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(2), pages 357-382.
    3. Hanappi, Hardy, 2006. "Endogenous Needs, Values and Technology," MPRA Paper 28880, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Scott E. Page, 2007. "Prologue to The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies," Introductory Chapters,in: The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies Princeton University Press.
    5. Kurt Dopfer, 2011. "Evolution and Complexity in Economics Revisited," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2011-02, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hanappi, Hardy, 2013. "Future methods of political economy: from Hicks’ equation systems to evolutionary macroeconomic simulation," MPRA Paper 47181, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    Scientific methods; evolutionary political economy; formal languages; ideology;

    JEL classification:

    • B51 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Socialist; Marxian; Sraffian
    • B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
    • B4 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology

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