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The Evolution of Cultural Entities$
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Michael Wheeler, John Ziman, and Margaret A. Boden

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780197262627

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197262627.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 26 February 2021

Evolutionary Theorising in Economics

Evolutionary Theorising in Economics

(p.135) Evolutionary Theorising in Economics
The Evolution of Cultural Entities

Richard R. Nelson

British Academy

This chapter deals with evolutionary theorising in economics, first by considering two quite different ways in which evolutionary arguments have entered economic discourse. In particular, it discusses the link between economic dynamics and evolutionary theory in biology, citing the views espoused by Adam Smith in his book The Wealth of Nations. It then examines the argument put forward by a number of economists that modern neoclassical economics and evolutionary theory in biology are basically the same thing. It also outlines the similarities and differences between several contemporary strands of evolutionary economic theorising. The chapter proposes an alternative kind of economic evolutionary theorising and how it fits with other bodies of evolutionary thought in the social sciences, and especially in terms of evolutionary epistemology. Finally, it outlines the way scholars outside of economics are embracing evolutionary economics by developing evolutionary theories of processes of economic, social, and cultural change in their own fields.

Keywords:   evolutionary theorising, economics, evolutionary theory, biology, Adam Smith, social sciences, evolutionary epistemology, cultural change

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