Origin of Wealth: Evolution, Complexity, and the Radical

Origin of Wealth: Evolution, Complexity, and the Radical

Origin of Wealth: Evolution, Complexity, and the Radical Remaking of Economics [Ebook] ➡ Origin of Wealth: Evolution, Complexity, and the Radical Remaking of Economics Author Eric D. Beinhocker – Larringtonlifecoaching.co.uk Over 64 billion people participate in a 365 trillion global economy designed and overseen by no one How did this marvel of self organized complexity evolve How is wealth created within this system And Over billion people Wealth: Evolution, ePUB ↠ participate in a trillion global economy designed and overseen by no one How did this marvel of self organized complexity evolve How is wealth created within this system And how can wealth be increased for the benefit of individuals businesses and society In The Origin of Wealth Eric D Beinhocker argues that modern science provides a radical perspective on these age old uestions with far reaching implications According to Beinhocker wealth creation is the product Origin of Kindle - of a simple but profoundly powerful evolutionary formula differentiate select and amplify In this view the economy is a complex adaptive system in which physical technologies social technologies and business designs continuously interact to create novel products new ideas and increasing wealth Taking readers on an entertaining journey through economic history from the Stone Age to modern economy Beinhocker explores how complexity economics provides provocative insights on issues ranging from creating adaptive of Wealth: Evolution, Complexity, and PDF \ organizations to the evolutionary workings of stock markets to of Wealth: Evolution, PDF ☆ new perspectives on government policies A landmark book that shatters conventional economic theory The Origin of Wealth will rewire our thinking about how we came to be here—and where we are going.

10 thoughts on “Origin of Wealth: Evolution, Complexity, and the Radical Remaking of Economics

  1. Kristin Kristin says:

    About 5 years after finishing college I started to feel that there was a major glaring deficiency in my liberal arts education As a young naive and somewhat annoying undergraduate I had a deep and mostly indefensible aversion to the idea of taking an economics class It's all a bunch of BS I thought and whatever isn't BS would certainly offend my pale pink sensibilities at the time I managed to get by without having to take one However as I got to be a little older I starting to develop a curiosity or at least an insecurity about my cluelessness about markets where do they come from? How do they work? What holds them together? And what is it that all these finance people and investment bankers keep rattling on about that mostly goes right through me? Economics was shrouded in a veil of mystery but I wasn't sure how to begin to address my lack of understanding And so when I stumbled upon this book I figured it would be a perfect introduction It turned out to be exactly that and then some Much to my surprise and delight it actually affirmed some of the suspicions I formed in my youth about the discipline Beinhocker spends the first half of the book raking traditional economic theory through the coals In their desperation to be taken seriously as real scientists economists of the 19th century began borrowing heavily from emerging theories in physics and applying them to the dynamics of the economy Not only that they believed they could explain the entire workings of the economy with euations in the same way that say Maxwell did with electromagnetism As Beinhocker shows this was to disastrous effect forcing these scientists to push aside anything that didn't fit with their euilibrium euations as a black box exogenous force And as Beinhocker goes on to demonstrate it is precisely these exogenous forces that not only make economics interesting but also are the very engine of the economy itself Indeed they are responsible for the incredible growth in wealth experienced throughout the world's economies starting in about 1750 And so the second half of the book is an introduction to the emerging field of complexity economics which views the economy not as a closed system seeking euilibrium but as a complex ever changing adaptive system In other words it is an evolutionary system in the same way that life on earth is And so much of the language and theory for describing it comes out of evolutionary theory Now Beinhocker is at great pains to prove that he isn't falling into the same trap of analogy as the traditional economists by borrowing from the sciences He repeatedly points out that the traditional economic view is that economic euilibrium is like mechanical euilibrium In contrast complexity economists say that the economy is not like an evolutionary system but rather is one As we've no choice but to use language and mental models to describe and understand these systems this distinction might leave some of us myself included a little wary Fortunately much of what complexity economics which is still in its infancy offers is very compelling and convincing At times it seems a little over enad with computer science particularly the section on if then rules which had my eyes rolling as a method of modelling and explaining complex systems But once it moves beyond that it has a fascinating story to tell about how organizations survive or don't why so many industries experience boom and bust and most interestingly how our economy grew from one with just a few products to one with tens of billions The last few chapters are my favorites when Beinhocker discusses the political and policy implications of complexity theory The best bit is about how complexity economics takes us beyond the stale old boring left vs right debates and offers a new way of looking at the economy and the best ways to nurture itOverall I found this to be a terrific extremely thorough and very satisfying book

  2. S.P. S.P. says:

    When I was studying engineering at University one of the subjects we had to have an overview of was economics I wanted the read this book because to me at the time the traditional macro economics theory just didn’t make sense – too many assumptions that were self evidently wrong and I wanted a up to date perspective This book I was pleased to discover not only explained traditional economic theories in detail but also agreed that there are basic flaws in this traditional macro economic view More interestingly for me anyway the book discusses much about complex adaptive systems in economics by comparing them to those in biological and social systems The treatment of complex adaptive systems I found to be both fascinating and enlightening probably than the economics they were being used to illuminate Certainly I could recommend this book for no other reason than the discussion of ‘Sugarscape’ which illustrated economics evolution and complex adaptive systems in one very simple thought experiment and model

  3. Katia N Katia N says:

    This is entertaining intellectually stimulating and well researched book about complexity economics If you are interested in the alternative views on economic theory you would find it worth paying attention to It is written in 2007 but still stands alone as a popular introduction into this field I am surprised it has not been updated and there is nothing recent on the topicThe book is than 500 pages but I never felt bored There is a part where Mr Beinhocker is trying to formulate his own theory of economic growth borrowing from the theory of evolution and applying it to the economy These chapters and his theory respectively I found not very convincing and relatively sketchy And he admits himself that he might be wrong in certain conjestures However the effort to produce any theory within the complexity framework was worthwhile nevertheless The rest of the book is a delight He gathers the relevant knowledge from the scientists working in the complexity field and convincingly presents it He also explains why the traditional neoclassical theory does not uite workBelow is what he is considering in the book the economy is complex adaptive system Complex contains many agents interacting with each other and demonstrates the phenomena of emergence; adaptive the agents adapt their behaviour in response to certain feedbacks; There is no long lasting euilibrium within these systems The system is also dynamic evolving with time the economic laws should be consistent with the biological theory of evolution and physics thermodynamics specifically 2nd law; He describes in the book what does it all mean if one models the economy using this paradigm the results would be much closer to the empirical data but would totally debunk many findings of the traditional economic theory the field is relatively new so there is no complete theory developed so far but a lot of interesting patterns are emergingThe implications of this are massive of course He demonstrates it with lots of example and the related models I will just mention the two of them here the ones I found uite strikingSugarscape modelThe model has been developed in 1996 by J Epstein and R Axtell It is a computer simulation of economic interactions between the agents trying to obtain and eat sugar the only resource available which is spread unevenly within limited landscape In the simplest model the agents could do only 3 things look for sugar; move; eat sugar To do that they receive randomly a “genetic endowment” for vision and metabolism the slow the better So the one with better vision and slower metabolism would be genetically better off but the geography where are they would matter as well For starters they ran this game with 250 agents And even at this simplest model they found a striking thing“At the beginning the sugarscape was fairy egalitarian society with bell shaped distribution of wealth and with only a few agents were rich and a few were poor the rest was solid middle class” And the gap between the richest and the poorest was relatively small As time passes however this distribution has changed dramatically “Average wealth rose but the distribution of wealth became very skewed with emerging super rich a long tale of upper class yuppie agents shrinking middle class and then a bog growing underclass of poor agents”Does it remind you something? Indeed what the Bible said “For whosoever hath to him shall be given and he shall have abundance but whosoever hath not from him shall be taken away even that he hath “ And the reason for this is “emerging macro behaviour out of micro behaviour of each agents” geography genes and sheer luck in combination Beinocker describes the outcomes and the assumptions in a very clear and detailed way He also shows complicated models with the possibility of exchange agents’ reproduction etc However even the basic model is very revealingAny policy maker should be familiar with this if she is serious addressing the ineuality issuesStock marketAccording to Beinocker the stock market is the only place where the economic theories are tested almost in real time and where there is a massive amount of empirical data The book has been written before the latest financial crisis However when I read this book I was amazed that all the knowledge describing the inherent instability of the stock market were already there It seems just no one wanted to open their eyes and look And i am not even talking about the financial system as whole Just pure stock marketThe traditional wisdom well actually an academic theory by a few Noble price winners is called “Perfect Market Hypotheses” PMH all information you might know about the company is already in its share price; therefore it is impossible to learn from the shares’ past performance The prices follow totally random walk; the market will reach its euilibrium; the price reflects the fair value of the companyAll of it leads to the following conclusions that the bubbles are impossible only might be coursed by exogenous factors not inherent in the system; no big money can be made at stock exchange ha the management should care about its share price and maximise the value of the company calculated as per financial results i am simplifying here but this is the jest;This is the PMH to you And it was evident in 2008 already that this theory is total rubbish excuse my French Beinocker shows how and why it is the case through the models of David Farmer the physicist turned into a stock broker and then finance theorist Surprisingly in 2008 against the evidence he himself presents Beinocker still seemed to agree with Paul Samuelson that “It is not easy to get rich in Las Vegas at Churchill Downs or at the local Merrill Lynch office” He argues that no single broker would have sufficient liuid funds easily available But i think it was a self delusion than the conclusions from his own research We all know by now know that the broker could easily borrowThe theory of maximising shareholder’s value ie financial result share price has created a culture of short term view with management focusing on the uarterly financial results instead of strategic long term vision of the company’s goals It is evident now that the share price does not reflect the company value and respectively the management does not have a direct control over it These are just two examples how complexity approach and the related modelling is changing the traditional economic paradigmIn the last part of the book Beinocker considers possible policy implications of the complexity economics Specifically thinks about ineuality development and the role of the government in the economy He hopes that the theory would put an end to the traditional left and right divide on the economic issues I would like to hope together with him However it seems we are moving backwards not forwards in terms of the divergence between the theory and practiceAll of this might sound very dry to you but the book is not dry He is fantastic and patient storyteller He takes time explaining the concepts and models I have to make a warning though if you are easily irritated by the management consulting verbiage you might find bits of this book uite annoying But it is not intolerable and not everywhere the majority is focused in Chapter 14 which might be easily skippedDefinitely complexity economics is the one of the most promising ways of looking at the economy Complexity and convergence seem to be the trends developing in the natural sciences for uite sometime I am glad it is starting to reach the social sciences as well

  4. Jonas Jonas says:

    Part I starts out with a nice overview of the development of traditional economics since Adam Smith The characterization of the work of Walras as a false turn importing physics metaphors into economics is particularly striking The physics framework was maintained until well after WWII with the neoclassical synthesis while 20th century physics had already moved away from its deterministic 19th century predecessor Chapter 3 talks about the work at the Santa Fe Institute SFI where complexity economics was born according to Beinhocker However Beinhocker exaggerates in my view the extent to which traditional and complexity economics are irreconcilable and the extent to which the complexity work of scholars outside the SFI was ignored by traditional economics Just think of Stiglitz or Kahnemann who received nobel prizes for their critiues of perfect information full rationality Still Beinhocker makes a convincing case that economics must move onPart II describes the elements of complexity economics and contrasts the traditional and complexity perspectives on dynamics networks agents emergence and evolution This part cites some interesting research from other disciplinesAfter that the book deteriorates in my opinion Parts III and IV contain some unsubstantiated und superficial claims on the role of evolution in wealth creation to be fair Beinhocker acknowledges that he is speculating here For example the discussion of the industrial revolution is a mere two pages long Beinhocker connects the neolithic and the industrial revolutions with the biological concept of punctuated euilibrium This simplistic metaphor avoids a informed discussion of these events Beinhocker also focusses mainly on evolution and little on the other elements given in part II The following chapters on management advice seem out of place and too wordyI award the first half of the book 4 stars but the second only 2

  5. Otto Lehto Otto Lehto says:

    Beinhocker's monumental book is an undeniable achievement It popularizes cutting edge economic ideas in an exceptionally gripping awe inspiring and palatable way It thereby reaches the apex of the very best books in popular economics Whether you primarily want to learn about business economics sociology politics or evolutionary theory this book has it all covered As opposed to many other books in the category Beinhocker treats his reader with level headed respect Without dumbing down the science too much he manages to convey complex and technical ideas in an intuitive way The book explores the insights of complexity and evolutionary economics and how they apply to economics business and politics The book weaves a coherent narrative that explains how the complex order of the global economy emerges from the primordial soup of complex adaptation The central message is that complex adaptive systems are hard to predict and control and they are subject to certain tendencies and patterns that cause uniue challenges for managers civil leaders and politicians And the same challenges touch the ordinary citizens in their everyday economic and social decision making This means that many of the scientific models of economics sociology and politics need to be periodically updated to be attuned to and responsive to the evolutionary challenges of complex adaptationThrough the book's pages all aspects of human life are affected from business strategies to government policies from consumer patterns to social norms The book covers all those aspects; some of them better than others but all in a relevant way In so doing the book challenges many of the assumptions of both the left and the right; and the models of both economics and sociology It is not afraid to enter into the naturenurture debate and some of the book's best insights deal with the way in which hardwired biological imperatives are affected by social construction through schooling parenting social networks cultural norms and ethical revolutions In particular the book forces political economy to refocus on Social Technologies like ethical norms as part of the arsenal of social engineering reuired to empower societies to survive and strive It thereby allows economics to be reintegrated into the interdisciplinary heart of the broader humanitiesThe only negatives I have are three small points First two small gripes 1 It is a little bit on the long side It would be tough to finish on a trans Atlantic flight 2 It focuses too much on business management strategies at the expense of the other important aspects of the economyJumping off from the second gripe we reach the biggest problem I had with the book 3 In focusing on business strategies Beinhocker is committed to a paradoxical position that is hard to reconcile with his broader thesis On the one hand Beinhocker rightly emphasizes how it is important for some companies to fail ie that guaranteed business success is impossible in order for the economy to be able to perform its fitness function This is the Schumpeter Nelson Winter thesis of creative destruction in order for new businesses to be born old businesses must die out since old businesses are often wedded to outdated strategies On the other hand Beinhocker emphasizes the power of companies to change their strategies so that they can survive and thrive in the complex environment This would enable them to outwit creative destruction from within It doesn't seem credible that companies can exert that much control and prediction over their future The complex adaptive system perspective forestalls any such aspirations as Hayek and Schumpeter knewThat said the book is mostly a resounding success It touches on all the important aspects of the complex adaptive system paradigm and it manages to fuse the insights of hundreds of high uality research papers into an extraordinarily compelling and beautifully written package This makes the book despite its length and business focus an easy recommendation for the educated general reader

  6. dh dh says:

    Another eye opening book I've read circa one fifth of the book and the stuff in the part was enough to break down all the stereotypes and misconceptions that I had partly due to the conventional education of economics I am an economics major Still yet of the things argued by the author there are some that I cannot fully understand or know whether the argument is true or not One of them is this ; Economics activity is firmly rooted in the real physical world and thus economics theory cannot escape the laws of thermodynamics While it may be true for the REAL economy where we sell and exchange goods and service for another I don't think at the moment that it also makes sense for the financial economy where nearly everything is 'pure information' and processed through computers and web Of course the author said even it is based on a real thing but how much? The connection in my perspective is very weak to the point where the inflow of energy like electricity to make the computer and server used to maintain the stock market is negligible Could we make case also for the stock market ?gotta read

  7. Don Don says:

    Beinhocker tells us that there is a revolution in the making in the world of economics The orthodoxies of the euilibrium models have long since ceased to tell the truth about the way markets work Not only are they not able to render a proper account of the reasons why they periodically fail but also what is positive about them in the sense of what they do wellThe book tells a good story of what economics attempts to be as a science and the tools it has developed to fulfil its mission Right from its earliest days in the searches made by Walras Pareto and the other luminaries it aimed at a model of predictability which matched that of the physical sciences Mathematics lured the pioneers down the path of euations which suggested that euilibrium was the outcome of all the encounters which brought buyers and sellers together in the marketplace Success in outlining the shape of business cycles lured the nascent science in towards an orthodox account of the way systems work which made the new profession very useful to rising economic elitesBut Beinhocker sets out the compelling argument that it was a mansion built on sand Neither buyers nor sellers work the way they are supposed to in the traditional accounts of markets and the inconvenient facts of time and imperfect knowledge were permanently present to send apparently ordered systems skittering off into crises and depressions for reasons which were unfathomable to the cognoscentiFor Beinhocker the problem for the pioneers of economics was that they chose the wrong physical science as the model to guide their endeavours Physics which in Newtonian terms tended to emphasis the conservation of energy within systems that transformed it through the phases of matter and energy was yet to properly work through all the implications of entropy which saw a rise in the amount of disorder over time It is not euilibrium which represents the endpoint of the mechanical processes of the universe but formless chaosYet still we exist And not just that we go out and do things which certainly give the impression that we are producing higher levels of order all the time Beinhocker says that there is a science which whilst being rooted in the depressing fact of entropy offers and understanding of the way in which local systems or order do arise all the time It is the science of evolutionary theorySo the revolution promised in this book is fundamentally about a change of perspective Instead of expecting the existence of order to be confirmed by number crunching euations we have to learn to think of it as something dragged out of chaotic conditions and always capable of slipping back there Evolutionary theory provides the best way to think about the way in which economies are constructed over time by agents who start off with very simple needs and simple ways of meeting them to become in time the sort of people who need shopping malls eBay and international spot markets to get through the dayLike a lot of evolutionary enthusiasts Beinhocker often seems to strain to find the mechanisms in the realm of actual economics which does the work of genes and DNA in biological evolution He comes up with candidates in the form of the firm and business plans to perform this role The most unconvincing part of his argument is the one which strives to show how bog standard accounts of business success like Jack Welch of General Electric do the business of running the Red ueen Races which are supposed to be the perfect analogy for evolution The reason why this doesn’t entirely work for me is due to the fact that the idea the firm is not constituted in the way that biological evolution reuires its agents to be as a discreet entity marked off from its environment by a membrane which controls the interactions with things like food air and germs and which is capable through the additional agency of a cooperating mate or reproduction It is rather a product of law culture and practices each of which is capable of independent adaptation to environmental prompts which are only tangentially related to the interests of the firmThe examples of the stakeholder and shareholder models of the firm illustrate this point In the former the firm survives because it serves the interests of a wide group of people – workers customers economic planners government ministries local communities as well as shareholders – whilst the latter is only concerned with shareholders Beinhocker says the difference is illusory and in fact all different types of firm really have shareholders at heartThis is just wrong but it services the author in making the case that that the revolution in thinking he wants to promote will leave markets or less intact and in their present form Shareholder firms have DNA business plans which allow them to adapt better to the turbulence of unrestrained free markets when stakeholder firms would be lumbered with the messy business of brokering agreements and deals which look after the concerns of all the parties A particular type of economic growth of the bubble kinds which have emerged since the 1980s would be curbed if shareholders conceded to stakeholders but writing from the standpoint of Europe November 2011 which would seem to be a good thingBut like many of these books which seek to apply evolutionary theory to the social world the errors of epistemology are not complete barriers to insight and inspiration There’s stuff here that is well worth thinking about particularly for those who’d like to see an even radical revolution than the one Beinhocker was thinking about

  8. Дмитрий Филоненко Дмитрий Филоненко says:

    Before reading this book I had almost no idea about economics In university I studied computer science and we had a half year course of economics which was meant to be one of a few ‘humanitarian’ courses just in order to avoid making from us students finished computer nerds All I remember was two intersecting curves for supply and demand and a boring lecturer talking not that much about economics as about the Dulles' Plan aimed to undermine the Soviet Union It was in 2001 when the Soviet Union was 10 years deadI should admit that ’The Origin of Wealth’ by Eric Beinhocker is one of the most brilliant books I’ve read And the reason is not only in the subject in economy per se It’s a wonderful sample of a wide view which is so important these days on the current level of science development Yes science becomes and specialized There are for example no ‘just’ physicists but rather astrophysicists specialists in the solid state physics in the molecular physics etc So they say there is no room for universal geniuses like Leonardo da Vinci At the same time we can see that some puzzles especially those ones in traditionally ‘humanitarian’ field reuire approaches which are conventional in natural sciences like physics or biology for example Indeed you can’t measure a feeling with a ruler though even this is already controversial But it’s and obvious that many social processes can be modeled using mathematical and physical apparatus What used to be thought of as rational in human nature is not that rational What used to be thought of as random in the life of society is not random in fact but pretty deterministic It’s just that even deterministic interactions do not presume possibility to solve and to predict the future behavior And it’s really astonishing to read how modern economics is reconciled with the famous laws of thermodynamics Which basically creates a new starting point for a new theory of economyAuthor starts with the description of Traditional economics which found its origins at the second half of XIX century and hasn’t changed much up to the end of XX century It’s here we have those two curves of supply and demand with a single intersection point which assumes an euilibrium which is never reached However the Traditional model is limited with some unrealistic assumptions like perfectly smart people comprehensive information available immediately to anyone deals taking no time and no transaction costs etc Another problem is that Traditional model keeps many important phenomenons outside the door considering them as external forces So technological progress innovations development of social structures and entrepreneurial drive are left aside Well they exist they definitely impact economy but they are external forces they do not find any place and any explanation within the economy theoryOk that could be fine if only such theory worked But it does not And it’s another very interesting though not direct outcome of this book How sticky we can be to some theories which at some time were found bright Even when such theories are not supported with real data still It’s all about a power of authority Many really prominent people made their fortune and some even got Nobel prizes on the wrong ground But it’s not this that is sad Sad is that it took many decades after first voices against this model had been heard before something started changing Then Beinhocker presents a Complexity economics approach This approach is based on a uite rapidly developing scientific tool complex adaptive systems A phenomenon is modeled with introduction of some number of interacting agents Each agent is endowed with a few rules for interaction with the environment and with other agents These rules are taken from real life observations Like for example instead of thinking about any person as perfectly rational we can introduce an agent with such close to real life rules 1 if very hungry buy some food in the very first store no matter the price; 2 if not hungry find the cheapest food in stores not farther than 5 minutes walk from the agent’s place; 3 if it’s a weekend and an agent possesses any information on discounts in food stores allow himher to buy food in proximity of 20 minutes walk Then there can be introduced agents representing food stores with their own rules for setting prices and discount policies And then such system can be programmed on a computer and run An emergent result of such system is very difficult to calculate analytically Mathematically it’s a huge system with many variables and time lags Basically impossible to solve But programmed model can give really interesting insights into behavior of such system One may expect uite chaotic picture But after a number of iterations some patterns may crystallize Then playing with agents’ or environment’s parameters a researcher can find interesting phenomenons in the systemThis approach was applied to economy And test results were remarkably close to those from real marketsAfter this Beinhocker goes further what basically makes the things go round? Why do new businesses pop up here and there? Why do they collapse? Why is entire wealth growing? The answers to these uestions should be a part of the model not just external magic forces And in order to answer author makes uite a natural choice The answer is evolution In economy the same laws of evolution work If in bio world it’s genes who compete for resources and for reproduction by means of their hosts biological creatures then in the world market such genes are small bits of technologies physical and social which make some bigger ‘organs’ management approaches production tools products’ features customer service offers logistic solutions performance improvements etc which in turn make ‘organisms’ business plans for making some products or services So it’s not exactly companies who compete It’s technology genes many numbers of which make business plans The same as in bio world the complexity is growing Inventing one new great thing expands horizon even further making a ground for new improvements or inventionsIs this all? No Beinhocker admits that Complex economics and evolution view make things very complex So if Traditional economics tried to predict the market behavior though wrong with the new theory it’s almost impossible to do But although this theory doesn’t give us a tool for predictions it explains how all this really works And it’s a very important knowledge It can be used both on a relatively micro level like managing a company in the ever changing evolution system and on a macro level like understanding the reasons for some states being very rich and some incredibly poor or solving the 200 years old false dichotomy “Left Right” How this all relates to culture as an environment for fostering particular economy development genes How this all relates to moral Beinhocker introduces thoughts of the many prominent anthropologists contemporary philosophers political thinkers and other How this all impacts society and is impacted by society And at the end of the book the economics as a piece of puzzle takes its place in the picture of the whole culture whole human civilizationReally exciting reading Even though many pieces of puzzle still should be discovered and Beinhocker honestly admits this The author doesn’t make a hero from himself The number of mentioned scientists thinkers and businessmen is overwhelming And he gives them all deserved respect including those whose assumptions were eventually wrong and made the science to take the wrong turn for decades

  9. Juan Pablo Juan Pablo says:

    I've been meaning to thoroughly destroy economics for some time now and after finishing this book I'm saying to myself Heck maybe I will if only for its necessary rebirthI studied econ back in college and the I learned the painfully I experienced the disparity between reality and the science most powerfully endowed to observe and prescribe the measures for our understanding of human and societal interaction Let me clear up the economics became over a hundred years a powerful form of mathematical masturbation in the hope of becoming a scienceLet's put it this way What the fuck was that in 2008?It is too bad this book was written before the 2008 meltdown as there are various fine ideological points espoused within which would stand reexamination given the newest of crises but the value of the fundamental aspects of this book remains unchangedIn short this books describes the understanding and the undertaking of economics as an enterprise in complex dynamic systems and what a breath of air it is to know of anyone in economics looking beyond the euilibrium paradigm It's already well past the time when neoclassical economics gave its fruits and soured yet unlike all other fields which deem themselves sciences economics has managed to stagnate incredibly in a web of power and sink in a swamp of scientific backwatersI hope the studies described in this book bear and fruit and are granted the recognition they deserve; I hope these economics dethrone the orthodoxy in the search for truth as we strive for in any scientific pursuitI like to think Joseph Schumpeter would be proud of academic destruction of this magnitude

  10. Lee Robinson Lee Robinson says:

    As an economist who has grown very disillusioned with mainstream economics or was never illusioned to begin with I am so happy this book existsIt is a brilliant outline of how the newly emerging field of complexity economics can help to reform economics from its reliance on static euilibrium concepts that have hampered the discipline and held it back for over a century And although this book is subversive it is not one of the run of the mill straw man range of books having a pop at economics and offering only utopian ideals as an alternative It is a technical critiue and proposes an alternative that is drawn from evolutionary theory which is a fascinating complex realistic take on how individual activity leads to emergent patterns in the economy which drive growth and wealth creation It is very pragmatic and not not anti establishment or socially radical In fact the author is a senior McKinsey fellow and the proposed model champions business And this is one of the drawbacks in some parts the text veers into a business managerial 'how to' guide Another drawback is that the arguments on culture do not convincingly show the direction of causality and sometimes brush aside a wealth of research in this area But for me these are not serious enough drawbacks to lose this book a star because the parts discussing economics broadly are so interesting One of the best popular economics books I have read in years

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