Rethinking Economic Evolution

Rethinking Economic Evolution

Essays on Economic Change and its Theory

Ulrich Witt

Modern economies never come to rest. From institutions to activities of production, trade, and consumption, everything is locked in processes of perpetual transformation – and so are our daily lives. Why and how do such transformations occur? What can economic theory tell us about these changes and where they might lead? Ulrich Witt’s book discusses why evolutionary concepts are necessary to answer such questions. While economic evolution is in many respects unique, it nonetheless needs to be seen within the broader context of natural evolution. By exploring this complex relationship, Rethinking Economic Evolution demonstrates the significance of an evolutionary economic theory.

Chapter 6: Generic Features of Evolution and Its Continuity: A Transdisciplinary Perspective

Ulrich Witt

Subjects: economics and finance, evolutionary economics


Because of the intellectual attraction of the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution, its concepts are often borrowed to conceptualized evolutionary change also in non-biological domains. However, a heuristic strategy like that is problematic. An attempt therefore is made to identify generic features of evolution which transcend domain-specific characteristics. Epistemological, conceptual, and methodological implications are discussed, and the ontological question is raised how non-biological evolutionary theories can be accomodated within the Darwinian world view of modern sciences.

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