Edited by J. Stanley Metcalfe and John Foster
1. Evolutionary foundations of economics Kurt Dopfer and Jason Potts ON ECONOMICS, COMPLEXITY AND EVOLUTION All ordered systems resemble one another, but each complex system is complex in its own way. The economy is a complex system, and so we might ask what, then, are the speciﬁc properties that make it complex? We say this: the complexity of the economic system is due to its modularity, openness and hierarchic depth. The economic system is modular in the sense of being made up of a large number of functionally speciﬁc parts. It is open in the sense that these parts interact with degrees of freedom. And it is deep in the sense that each module is itself a complex system: every part is a whole and every whole is a part. The economic system is modular, open and deep, and because there are many ways for a system to be like this, complexity is inherently emergent. Each complex component of the economic system tends to be complex in its own way. Yet there are overarching insights, and models of economic evolution nowadays incorporate many of these aspects of complexity (see, for example, Arthur et al. 1997; Foster and Metcalfe 2001). These reﬁnements and additions have brought many improvements in the range and quality of evolutionary economic analysis. The problem, however, is that complexity is not really something that just bolts-on to an extant analytical framework to add a ‘complexity perspective’ over and above a ‘mainstream perspective’. For example,...
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