Publication details [#3649]

Corning, Peter A. 1995. Evolutionary economics: Metaphor or unifying paradigm? Bakhtiniana: Revista de Estudos do Discurso 18 (4) : 421–435. 15 pp.
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The human being is not unique among the animals in having to apply limited time and energy to strategies in order to survive and reproduce. Yet modern economic theory avoids biological or psychological justifications for behavior by treating individual humans as black boxes with simple input and output. This reductionist view of economic problems neglects universal bioeconomic principles that underlie all survival enterprises. Chaos theory and modeling of non-linear dynamical systems show that economic systems display historicity: path dependency and sensitivity to past cultural and economic development. Corning lists these universal principles: that the survival problem is always contingent on the specific environment, that energy and access to information about energy are crucial to survival and reproduction, that organisms have limited time and energy to meet their needs, that competitive and cooperative strategies are both equally relevant aspects of adaptation, and that dramatic economic benefits can arise from the non-linear cooperative effects of synergies. An analytical framework under the 'Interactional Paradigm' would begin with the development of explicit measures of human needs satisfaction and a reexamination of the relationship between our biological, motivational substrate and our learned and cultural behaviors. (Peter Corning)