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Evolutionary Economic Thought

European Contributions and Concepts

Edited by Jürgen G. Backhaus

Evolutionary Economic Thought explores the theoretical roots of the evolutionary approach, and in so doing, demonstrates how it fits squarely into the theoretical mainstream. Focusing on the institutions of evolutionary change and the processes – such as competition – that generate change, this book takes account of important European contributions to the discipline, hitherto overshadowed by the American paradigm. As such, the book serves to broaden the current discourse. Whilst evolutionary economics itself is a well-researched and widely documented field, this book will be credited with establishing a history of evolutionary economic thought.
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Chapter 4: Karl Marx - an evolutionary social scientist?

Dietmar Meyer


4. Karl Marx – an evolutionary social scientist? Dietmar Meyer INTRODUCTION At first sight the title of this paper seems to be provocative. On the one hand, it points out that it is very difficult – may be entirely impossible – to find a Marxian school or Marxian schools of economics among the mainstream approaches. On the basis of this statement, it has to be remarked that the so–called mainstream economics using the general equilibrium approach, calculus of optimisation, and so on are not able to interpret Marx’s way of thinking about economic and social problems in its original sense. Because of the different theoretical – but mainly methodological – basis of these approaches, the reformulation of Marx’s economic and social ideas or of Marxian theories in the language of mainstream economics is impossible without distorting their original meaning. (For example, see the discussions about Bródys or Morishima’s pioneering research, Bródy 1970, Morishima 1968). This fact allows us to draw simple but very important conclusions about the often emphasised ‘general’ methods used by modern – mainstream – economic theories: worldwide discussions of Marx’s theories at the beginning of this century as well as in the 1960s and 1970s have shown the impossibility of exactly and fully integrating the results found more than 100 years ago into modern economic theories. Once Albert Einstein said that the greatest happiness for a scientist is to find his own former results as special cases of more developed and more general theories years later. If Marx lived in our...

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