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Complexity and EvolutionToward a New Synthesis for Economics$
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David S Wilson and Alan Kirman

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262035385

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262035385.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 26 May 2022

Shaping the Evolution of Complex Societies

Shaping the Evolution of Complex Societies

(p.327) 18 Shaping the Evolution of Complex Societies
Complexity and Evolution

John Gowdy

Mariana Mazzucato

Jeroen C. J. M. van den Bergh

Sander E. van der Leeuw

David S. Wilson

The MIT Press

This chapter calls for an approach to economic policy that takes evolutionary and complex systems theory into account. Such an approach alters the way that economic policy is framed and how policy co-depends on understanding markets as outcomes of nonmarket interactions, incomplete information, path dependency, and coordination failures. Through illustrative examples, it explores the application of evolutionary and complexity thinking to policy criteria, goals, instruments, and policy assessment. These examples—the transition to a low carbon economy, the use of multilevel selection to inform group design for human organizations, policy making as shaping and creating markets, government failures in Greek farm policy, and protecting the Sudd Wetland in South Sudan—are used to identify key issues for an evolutionary and complexity approach to public policy.

Keywords:   Strüngmann Forum Reports, cultural evolution, economic policy, institutional design, markets, multilevel selection, prosocial behavior, Sudd Wetland, sustainable development

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