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Economic theory is currently at a crossroads, where many leading mainstream economists are calling for a more realistic and practical orientation for economic science. Indeed, many are suggesting that economics should be reconstructed on evolutionary lines.
This book is about the application to economics of evolutionary ideas from biology. It is not about selfish genes or determination of our behavior by genetic code. The idea that evolution supports a laissez-faire policy is rebutted. The conception of evolution as progress toward greater perfection, along with the competitive individualism sometimes inferred from the notion of the "survival of the fittest," is found to be problematic. Hodgson explores the ambiguities inherent in biology and the problems involved in applying ideas of past economic thinkers--including Malthus, Smith, Marx, Marshall, Veblen, Schumpeter, and Hayek--and argues that the new evolutionary economics can learn much from the many differing conceptions of economic evolution.
Geoffrey M. Hodgson is University Lecturer in Economics, Judge Institute for Management Studies, University of Cambridge.