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Economics in the Shadows of Darwin And Marx: Essays on Institutional And Evolutionary Themes

Economics in the Shadows of Darwin And Marx: Essays on Institutional And Evolutionary Themes

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`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


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.