EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Economic cosmology and the evolutionary challenge

John Gowdy (), Denise E. Dollimore, David Sloan Wilson and Ulrich Witt

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2013, vol. 90, issue S, S11-S20

Abstract: The intellectual histories of economics and evolutionary biology are closely intertwined because both subjects deal with living, complex, evolving systems. Because the subject matter is similar, contemporary evolutionary thought has much to offer to economics. In recent decades theoretical biology has progressed faster than economics in understanding phenomena like hierarchical processes, cooperative behavior, and selection processes in evolutionary change. This paper discusses three very old “cosmologies” in Western thought, how these play out in economic theory, and how evolutionary biology can help evaluate their validity and policy relevance. These cosmologies are: (1) “natural man” as a rational, self-sufficient, egotistical individual, (2) competition among individuals can lead to a well-functioning society, and (3) there exists an ideal optimal state of nature. These correspond to Colander et al. (2004) “holy trinity of orthodox economics”, rationality, greed, and equilibrium. It is argued below that current breakthroughs in evolutionary biology and neuroscience can help economics go beyond these simple cosmologies.

Keywords: Competition and cooperation; Economic man; Evolutionary economics; History of economic thought; Multilevel selection; Spontaneous order (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: B11 B12 B15 B40 B52 D02 D60 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (11) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268112002685
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

Related works:
Working Paper: Economic Cosmology and the Evolutionary Challenge (2012) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:90:y:2013:i:s:p:s11-s20

DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2012.12.009

Access Statistics for this article

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization is currently edited by Houser, D. and Puzzello, D.

More articles in Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization from Elsevier
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Catherine Liu ().

 
Page updated 2022-05-16
Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:90:y:2013:i:s:p:s11-s20