Edited by Cristiano Antonelli
Chapter 13: Mesoeconomics: A Unified Approach to Systems Complexity and Evolution
Kurt Dopfer 1. BACKGROUND The last three decades have seen a rise in interest in evolutionary thinking in economics, paralleled by a large volume of publications in this emergent field. Examining the nature of this research reveals two features that are worthy of note. First, the growth in the quantity of publications has been matched by an increase in variety, reflecting the fact that the scope of empirical explorations has widened and that the investigations into theoretical issues have become progressively more specialized and differentiated. This development has had far-reaching consequences for the unity and the coherence of the scientific endeavour. While the overall knowledge base has accumulated, the individual pieces of knowledge have tended to become disconnected and unrelated corresponding to the degree that they have undergone theoretical refinement and polishing. This has led to the growing recognition that they should be conceived less as single items and more as component parts of a whole. This recognition is less compelling for the management and related ‘micro’ sciences (which have furnished important theoretical groundwork and empirical evidence); for the science of economics, though, the macroscopic scope is centre stage, since its very subject matter is the economy as a whole, and any failure to connect the various pieces of theoretical and empirical knowledge may well signal a substantive failure in the theoretical venture. The concern for a valid theoretical architecture is bound to figure prominently on the agenda of evolutionary economics if it is to cope with major problems that...
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