Economics in the Shadows of Darwin and Marx


Economics in the Shadows of Darwin and Marx

Essays on Institutional and Evolutionary Themes

9781845424978 Edward Elgar Publishing
Geoffrey M. Hodgson, Institute for International Management, Loughborough University London, UK
Publication Date: 2006 ISBN: 978 1 84542 497 8 Extent: 288 pp
Economics in the Shadows of Darwin and Marx examines the legacies of these two giants of thought for the social sciences in the twenty-first century.

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Economics in the Shadows of Darwin and Marx examines the legacies of these two giants of thought for the social sciences in the twenty-first century.

Darwin and Marx stand out as the supreme theorists of structural change in complex living systems. Yet their analytical approaches are very different, and the idea that Darwinism has application to the social sciences is not widely appreciated. This collection of essays establishes the importance of Darwinism for economics and other social sciences, and compares the Darwinian legacy with that of Marx. Critical realism is just one of the tendencies within economics influenced by Marxism that is dissected here. The final part of the book adopts a Darwinian evolutionary approach to the analysis of institutions and routines.

Geoffrey Hodgson’s book will be warmly welcomed and received by evolutionary and institutional economists, methodologists of economics and other social sciences, heterodox economists as well as other social scientists including economic sociologists, organisation scientists and political scientists.
Critical Acclaim
‘As always with Hodgson’s work, it is erudite and well referenced to a huge range of authors.’
– Bridget Rosewell, The Business Economist

‘. . . the book is highly recommended to the potential reader who is interested in current debates on evolution and institutions, along with conceptual and epistemological discourses involved. . . It is a cutting-edge collection of EIE [evolutionary-institutional economics] issues and discourses and an important post in the current EIE discursive landscape. And as is always the case with Hodgson, the book is an invaluable source of a trans-disciplinary and history-of-thought literature that the normal EIE economist might not be able or willing to pursue in his daily work.’
– Wolfram Elsner, Journal of Evolutionary Economics

‘After the crisis of neo-classical theory, Darwin and Marx have re-emerged as the two key figures who can show the way to be followed to understand the great transformations of our time. Hodgson offers a superb account of the limitations and the insights of Marx and shows how Darwin’s theories can help to explain evolution well beyond the realm of natural history. His book is not only a major contribution to the understanding of the roots of institutional economics, it is also a very original contribution to modern institutional theory.’
– Ugo Pagano, University of Siena, Italy

‘Once again, Geoffrey Hodgson has underlined the importance of deeper awareness of the origins of ideas employed in current economic debates. He shows that current understanding is incomplete without a detailed exploration of the historiography of terminology and its use in primary sources. In this respect, the implications of his comparisons and contrasts between Marx and Darwin extend well beyond modern economics. In my own research field, Hodgson’s work has been valuable in enhancing my sensitivity to narratives and metaphors underlying historical accounts of the economy of the Roman Empire. Furthermore, his discussion of habits, routines and institutions in the context of evolutionary theory is pertinent to the study of technology from prehistoric to modern times.’
– Kevin Greene, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

‘Almost 150 years after their major works were published Darwin and Marx
stand alone as the premier theorists of the evolution of complex living
systems. Hodgson’s unique contribution in these essays is to capture the
spirit of these two great thinkers in their ability to see universal
principles in particular contextual frameworks. Using an evolutionary and
institutional approach to examine a variety of theoretical issues Hodgson
avoids both the postmodern disease of extreme relativism and the rigidity
of insisting on “one true religion” for economic theory. This book is a
major contribution to the current revolution in economic theory.’
– John M. Gowdy, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, US
Contents: Preface 1. Introduction Part I: Marxism, Darwinism, Institutionalism 2. Darwin and Marx at the Crossroads 3. Social Darwinism in Anglophone Academic Journals 4. Institutionalism versus Marxism: A Debate with Alex Callinicos Part II: Three Essays on Critical Realism 5. The Uncritical Political Affinities of Critical Realism 6. Contestable Claims by Critical Realism in Economics 7. The Problem of Formalism in Economics Part III: Habits and Individuals: Routines and Institutions 8. What are Institutions? 9. The Hidden Persuaders 10. The Complex Evolution of a Simple Traffic Convention 11. The Nature and Replication of Routines References Index
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