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Evolutionary Economics

Evolutionary Economics

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Published by Onur Coşkun
evolutionary economics
evolutionary economics

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Published by: Onur Coşkun on Jun 07, 2010
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09/13/2010

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EVOLUTIONARY ECONOMICS
By
 
ONUR COŞKUNDokuz Eylül University
The mecca of the economists lies in economic biology. . . . But biological conceptions are more complexthan those of mechanics; a volume on Foundations must therefore give a relatively large place to mechanical analogies, and frequent use is made of the term equilibrium which suggests something of a static analogy.(Alfred Marshall 1948, p. Xiv)
As Alfred Marshall stated in fifth edition of 
 Principles of Economics
(1907), there are twoimportant issues, which are relevant today economics as they were Marshall’s time. First oneis strong insistence of economists about formal theorizing on the notion of “equilibrium”. Andthe other one is attraction of using “biological conceptions “when focus is economic change.(Richard R. Nelson 1995 p.48) Marshall believed that economics’ main aid is to understand
economic change
.Focus of evolutionary economics is
 process
that transform from within and alsoevolutionary economics investigate implications of processes for firms, industries, production,trade, employment and growth.And many economists have proclivity to accept individuals and organizations as beingthat search and learn. Also economists mentioned about industries such as “young” or “mature” industries like something which born and get older or die. Evolutionary or developmental language is used by economists quiet widely to mention about change instructure of an economy, technology, industry and law etc.In addition to these, it is easy that to call evolutionary economics multidisciplinary, because recent improvements in understanding of complex
systems
and
mathematics of nonlinear dynamics,
acknowledge of many physical systems, so dynamic models became adrive for evolutionary theorizing in economics. Furthermore much of the work on complexdynamic systems is helped through
computer simulation.
Many technological developmentsin programming language , increases in powers of computers and improvements in techniquesabout simulation of complex dynamic systems caused to remove barriers of applying complex“biological conceptions” that Marshall had mentioned. Also
thermodynamics
developmentshelp to explain energy flows in economy.
Game theory
is also one of contractures toevolutionary economics about creating survival tricks as being a group. A rich empiricalliterature, relationships between innovation processes and instutions that support innovationshave shown that an evolutionary theoretical perspective can be useful for heuristics for applied research. (Dosi and Nelson 1994 )
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 Evolution
Evolution means that little and continuous changes happen in time. For biology, evolutionis a process where species change in time, replacement of old species with new ones. WhenDarwin first time had mentioned about evolution, he used term of “descent with modification”and Lamarck (one of biggest scientist that investigate evolution) had used term of “transformizme”. First user of evolution term was Spencer (philosopher). Difference betweenDarwin approach and Lamarck’s is about selection progress. According to Lamarck,environmental factors are so important that cause changes in creatures. For Darwin, changeshappen randomly.To explain evolutionary economics, sufficient way is starting with explanation of evolution. Evolution embodied principle characteristics of evolutionary theories in generaland in economics.In 1994, Karl Sims
1
tried to find a way of studying evolution in action. And he wanted todo that not in a lab, so he created a simulated evolutionary world with computer creatures.And these creatures occurred by some blocks. The blocks were interlinked rectangular. The blocks were hinged to each other and could flex. A creature can move its hinged-block parts by orders of a simple computer brain. After that, Karl Sims gave creature a goal: to swim asfast as they could through simulated water.Sims then put a form of computer DNA into simulated world that described; the layout of creature’s body, way of to move body parts, initial state of its simulated brain. After that Simscreated much different type of creatures randomly. Some of creatures failed and somecreatures can generate ability to swim. Then he removes at least successful swimmers andmodified successful ones by linking each other. By this way, Sims created new entities also
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A former member of the MIT Media Lab , work at GenArts Inc. Creator of pc games such as Sims.
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2
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new creatures had random mutations that altered their DNA. The process was followed thesteps that first population exhibited
variations,
then
 selecting 
the fittest ones, after that
replicating 
successful creatures and generate their designs. That process run continuously,after generations over generations the creatures which could swim began to evolve.In some creatures big flapping tails were seen, some of them flapped their tails like dolphinsdo. While some of them were flapping their tails like a shark. The other developed long andthin shape like snakes or many little segments like millipede also seahorse shape. As seenthere are much solution and no optimum. The physics of water support constraints onswimming shapes. Sims did not create a fixed model of creation, just created conditions for evolution. After that bottom-up process was applied.As seen, evolutionary process is shaped by some key conceptions. These indispensableconceptions are
 substrate-neutral, recursive, fitness function, selection, mutations, good tricks, forced moves, path dependence.
Evolution accepted as an algorithm; algorithm is explained like a recipe of baking a cake,which is a process occurred by operating levels. For example, first you put sugar, flour, eggs
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