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Natural Selection versus Emergent Self-Organization in Evolutionary Political Economy

Barkley Rosser ()

A chapter in Entangled Political Economy, 2014, vol. 18, pp 67-91 from Emerald Publishing Ltd

Abstract: Abstract Political economies evolve institutionally and technologically over time. This means that to understand evolutionary political economy one must understand the nature of the evolutionary process in its full complexity. From the time of Darwin and Spencer natural selection has been seen as the foundation of evolution. This view has remained even as views of how evolution operates more broadly have changed. An issue that some have viewed as an aspect of evolution that natural selection may not fully explain is that of emergence of higher order structures, with this aspect having been associated with the idea of emergence. In recent decades it has been argued that self-organization dynamics may explain such emergence, with this being argued to be constrained, if not overshadowed, by natural selection. Just as the balance between these aspects is debated within organic evolutionary theory, it also arises in the evolution of political economy, as between such examples of self-organizing emergence as the Mengerian analysis of the appearance of commodity money in primitive societies and the natural selection that operates in the competition between firms in markets.

Keywords: Evolution; emergence; natural selection; B52; B53 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
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