This paper describes the emergence of complexity as duplicated evolutionary process. The first procedural source of complexity is the quantum jump of the evolution of the human species when it started to maintain certain brain-internal models of its environment. The second-parallel-procedural origin is the evolution of a communication structure, a language, with which an already existing group of primates could frame their internal models. In contrast to definitions of complexity which use the concept in the context of theoretical physics, this approach reveals some perplexing properties of model-building for a special subject of investigation; namely the human species: All adequate models of political economy (economics is just the sub-discipline that freezes political dynamics) have to be complex. Since today's mainstream economic theory lends its formal apparatus from the mathematics of Newtonian physics, it misses the most essential features characterizing human social dynamics, i.e. its complexity 1 .
Innovation in theory building usually follows the prescription of 'normal science' as described by Thomas Kuhn in his account on the history of theoretical physics, see [Kuhn, 1962]. What already had been postulated by Descartes, compare [Descartes, 1637], as a signum of science, namely the systematic advance towards smaller, more specialized, partial problems that are easier to solve, this procedure still prevails in the social sciences till today. Contrary to this piecemeal engineering approach, Joseph Schumpeter made the character mask of the revolutionary entrepreneur to his hero of progress-at least as far as innovation in the production of commodities is concerned, [Schumpeter, 1911]. Of course, history shows that both forms of innovation are alternating: If the slow advance and broadening of a prevailing mainstream gets stuck and the contradictions it produces start to accumulate quickly, then it is time for a revolution-in the material world (compare [Hanappi & Wäckerle, 2016]) as well as in its scientific correlate. It is time for a metamorphosis. In which direction a theoretical innovation in times of metamorphosis shall point clearly has to remain an unanswered question. The best characterization of its general methodological form still seems to be Schumpeter's dictum. It is a new combination of (existing) elements. The existing elements typically should concern burning problems of the troubled mainstream (compare [Hanappi, 2016]), and the adjective 'new' means that they so far are not connected to each other in the stagnating mainstream approach. The global political economy as well as its theoretical reflection in mainstream theory undoubtedly currently is in a state that calls for a revolutionary metamorphosis. This paper therefore sets out to develop a new combination of three seemingly unconnected ideas, which each address a fundamental contradiction. The first idea concerns the contradiction between the rich and the poor parts of the global economy, the second idea concerns the driving force of progress of the human species and its impediments, and the third idea concerns the contradiction between syntax and semantics of the formal representation of the first two contradictions. Contrary to papers in 'normal science', which in a conclusion propose a solution for their research question, this paper avoids to pretend a finite horizon of its arguments. As is appropriate for a proposed theoretical innovation it just offers a new open-ended contribution to the rapidly evolving discourse in the middle of metamorphosis.
The currently fashionable modelling tool agent-based simulation is characterized. The first part concerns the past. It presents a selection of the major intellectual roots from which this new tool emerged. It is important for social scientists, in particular for economists, to see that two relevant impacts came from neighbouring disciplines: biology and network theory. The second part concerns the present of ABM. It aims at highlighting the essential features which are characteristic for an agent-based model. Since there are currently several different opinions on this topic, the one presented here also includes some more epistemologically oriented ideas to support its plausibility. In particular the notion of emergence is scrutinized and extended. This part ends with a short recipe stating how to build an agent-based model. In the last part some ideas on the future of agent based modelling are presented. This part follows the sequence of syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. The syntactic challenges, like operators for pattern recognition, will be meat by a continuing variety of software packages and programming languages tailored to support ABM. The semantic aspect of future agent-based modelling hinges on the close relationship between the tool ABM and its object of investigation, e.g. evolutionary political economy. The need to model institutional change or communication processes will imply adaptive evolution of ABM. The pragmatics of future agent-based modelling are finally characterized as the most demanding – but also as the most influential – element that the new tool will bring about.
This paper compares the essential theoretical works of Joseph Schumpeter and Richard Goodwin. Though it also describes some biographical details of their overlapping lifetimes, the main focus is on the relation between their theoretical contributions. It is concluded that their role as theoretical mavericks challenging mainstream economics mirrors the methodological approach of evolutionary economics: progress needs the singular and unconventional challenge of innovators. Their long-lasting influence still is exerted by the scholars they influenced during their last period of activity. As well as showing several similarities the paper also discusses the essential differences between Schumpeter’s and Goodwin’s theoretical positions – in particular with respect to the works of Marx and Keynes.
In this paper we present the major theoretical and methodological pillars of evolutionary political economy. We proceed in four steps. Aesthetics: In chapter 1 the immediate appeal of evolutionary political economy as a specific scientific activity is described. Content: Chapter 2 explores the object of investigation of evolutionary political economy. Power: The third chapter develops the interplay between politics and economics. Methods: Chapter 4 focuses on the evolution of methods necessary for evolutionary political economy.