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   Economics in the Shadows of Darwin and Marx:

   Essays on Institutional and Evolutionary Themes

   Edward Elgar, published November 2006

    ISBN-13: 978 1 84542 497 8 (hbk). ISBN-10: 1 84542 497 2 (hbk).







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. Among the tendencies within economics influenced by Marxism that are dissected here is modern critical realism. The final part of the book adopts a Darwinian evolutionary approach to the analysis of institutions and routines.


Review of Economics in the Shadows of Darwin and Marx


Wolfram Elsner, University of Bremen, Germany, in Journal of Evolutionary Economics, June 2007.

“the book is highly recommended to the potential reader who is interested in current debates on evolution and institutions, along with the conceptual and epistemological discourses involved. ... It is a cutting-edge collection …”


Comments on Economics in the Shadows of Darwin and Marx


John Gowdy, Rensselaer Polytechnic Insitute, USA

“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.”


Kevin Greene, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

“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. 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.”


Ugo Pagano, University of Siena, Italy

"After the crisis of neoclassical theory, Darwin and Marx have re-emerged as the two key figures who can show the way to understand the great transformation 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 natural history. His book is not only a major contribution to the understanding of the roots of institutional economics. It contains also a very original piece of modern institutional theory."



1.         Introduction


2.         Darwin and Marx at the Crossroads

3.         Social Darwinism in Anglophone Academic Journals

4.         Institutionalism versus Marxism: A Debate with Alex Callinicos


5.         The Uncritical Political Affinities of Critical Realism

6.         Contestable Claims by Critical Realism in Economics

7.         The Problem of Formalism in Economics


8.         What Are Institutions?

9.         The Hidden Persuaders

10.       The Complex Evolution of a Simple Traffic Convention

11.       The Nature and Replication of Routines