Continuity and Change in Socio-Economic Systems
Edited by Elizabeth Garnsey and James McGlade
Chapter 5: Restless Capitalism: A Complexity Perspective on Modern Capitalist Economies
Ronnie Ramlogan and J. Stanley Metcalfe The solution of the economic problem of society . . . is always a voyage of exploration into the unknown, an attempt to discover new ways of doing things better than they have been done before. This must always be so as long as there are any economic problems to be solved at all, because all economic problems are created by unforeseen changes which require adaptation. Only what we have not foreseen and provided for requires new decision. If no such adaptations were required, if at any moment we knew that all change had stopped and things would forever go on exactly as they are now, there would be no more questions of the use of resources to be solved. (Hayek 1948, p.101) INTRODUCTION In this chapter we explore the idea that economies are complex adaptive systems, that they are strongly ordered to produce their structural properties, and that this order is always changing from within. The problem of economic growth and its relation with the growth of knowledge provides a natural focus for this discussion and we turn to this topic presently, together with a complementary complexity perspective on the ﬁrm, entrepreneurship and market processes. The core of the argument is that complexity requires change from within, and change from within depends on the emergence of new knowledge. A non-complex world would be a world of invariant beliefs, a world of the stationary state in which irrespective of its scale the structure of the economy is...
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