The creation of economic institutions that can function well under substantial uncertainties -- Black Swans -- is analogous to the dilemmas confronting our hunter-gatherer forefathers in the face of large-scale ecological unpredictability. The ultimate solution was not the development of a super hunter-gatherer technology that could ride out repeated catastrophe, but rather the invention, in neolithic times, of culturally-adapted 'farmed' ecosystems constructed to maximize food yield and minimize risks of famine.
Recent advances in evolutionary and ecosystem theory applied to economic structure and process may permit construction of both new economic theory and new tools for data analysis that can help in the design of more robust economic institutions. This may result in less frequent and less disruptive transitions, and enable the design of culturally-specific systems less affected by those that do occur.
This unique and innovative book applies cutting-edge methods from cognitive science and evolutionary theory to the problem of the necessary stabilization of economic processes. At the core of this book is the establishment of a statistics-like toolbox for the study of empirical data that is consistent with generalized evolutionary approaches. This toolbox enables the construction of both new economic theories and methods of data analysis that can help in the design of more robust economic institutions. This in turn will result in less frequent and less disruptive Black Swans, and enable as well the design of culturally-specific systems less affected by those that do occur.
1. The Crisis in Economic Theory 2. Evolutionary Economics 3. Black Swans and Red Queens 4. Lies and Deceit: `Niche Construction' 5. Farming an Economy 6. Cambrian Explosions and Mass Extinctions 7. Counterexample: The Pentagon Ratchet 8. Counterexample: Organized Hyperviolence 9. Counterexample: Farming Human Pathogens 10. Escaping the Howling Wilderness 11. Mathematical Appendix
Over the past two decades, the intellectual agendas of heterodox economists have taken a decidedly pluralist turn. Leading thinkers have begun to move beyond the established paradigms of Austrian, feminist, Institutional-evolutionary, Marxian, Post Keynesian, radical, social, and Sraffian economics—opening up new lines of analysis, criticism, and dialogue among dissenting schools of thought. This cross-fertilization of ideas is creating a new generation of scholarship in which novel combinations of heterodox ideas are being brought to bear on important contemporary and historical problems.
Routledge Advances in Heterodox Economics aims to promote this new scholarship by publishing innovative books in heterodox economic theory, policy, philosophy, intellectual history, institutional history, and pedagogy. Syntheses or critical engagement of two or more heterodox traditions are especially encouraged.