Economics, Evolution and the State
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Economics, Evolution and the State

The Governance of Complexity

Edited by Kurt Dopfer

This book focuses on the emerging field of evolutionary economic policy, highlighting the interface between the state, markets, and the evolutionary complexity of modern economies. The contributors explore the possibilities and limitations of governance, and provide a unique platform for the advancement of modern evolutionary economic theory.
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Chapter 14: Can Evolutionary Economics Make a Billion $ Difference for 60 Per Cent of the World’s Poor in Asia?

Hans-Peter Brunner


14. Can evolutionary economics make a billion $ difference for 60 per cent of the world’s poor in Asia? Hans-Peter Brunner* 1. THE POWER OF THE EVOLUTIONARY APPROACH The first issue of the Journal of Evolutionary Economics (1991) featured prominent academics in the field, such as Dosi, Boulding, and Eliasson among others, presenting and discussing key elements of an ‘evolutionary approach’. The key notions elaborated constitute a possible evolutionary approach to economic development. They are: irreversibility (history and path dependence); institutions; population; restructuring and ‘creative destruction’; disequilibrium and multiple equilibria; information and learning; innovation and entrepreneurship; non-average behaviour by economic agents; and, positive feedback mechanisms, linkages, and externalities. The discussion in this and other parts of the literature (Witt, 1992; Silverberg, 1994) does not provide a clear manifesto of evolutionary economics. The ability to differentiate evolutionary economics from neoclassical or other types of economic approaches is, however, considered of less importance when compared to the fruitfulness of such concepts in theoretical and empirical exploration of economic development phenomena (Adams, 1993; Witt, 2001b). The argument is not that neoclassical economics is wrong or unnecessary but that there are demonstrable advantages in using institutional and evolutionary concepts. ‘Fruitfulness’ means making a difference based on the evolutionary explanation of economic phenomena. Does the evolutionary approach have the power to make a difference, that is, to make a real and measurable difference, to people’s lives, in the poor, developing economies of Asia? This chapter explores and explains how key evolutionary...

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