The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed, the world is ruled by little else.
—John Maynard Keynes
Ideas change the world, for better and for worse. And with the exception of religion, perhaps no ideas are as powerful as economic ideas. Think Adam Smith. Marx, Hayek, Keynes, a host of others. In the political sphere: FDR. Deng Xiaoping. Reagan. Their ideas created the world we live in today. Today’s economic ideas will create the world we live in tomorrow.
Good economic thinking, widely shared, understood, and implemented in public policy, can make the world a far better place. We’re committed to helping that happen.
Economics is in a period of profound and largely unprecedented transition. The long-dominant paradigm of efficient markets, rational actors, the invisible hand, and Walrasian auctioneers (and the one-axis socialism vs. capitalism debate) is being questioned, and often dismissed, from every side — notably from within the academy, and by professional economists of almost every stripe.
But unlike a Thomas-Kuhnian paradigm shift, the current paradigm is not being displaced by a single dominant, compelling, and widely convincing alternative. A plethora of paradigms and approaches are challenging, questioning, and supplanting the orthodox approach. Some are new, but many are worthily resurrected from the cast-off or long-ignored ideas of previous decades and centuries.
Evonomics is devoted to celebrating, embracing, and exploring that Next Evolution of Economics. We scour the world for the most promising and exciting approaches and insights, share them in comprehensible and engaging form, and spread the word about them far and wide. Much of that thinking comes from the world’s top economists. But much comes for lesser-known practitioners, and from differently-credentialed or uncredentialed students of the discipline. We are a home for real interdisciplinary exchanges.
Evonomics’ roots lie in the evolutionary paradigm (the inexorable machinery of variance, replication, and selection), with its deeply intriguing relationship to economic thinking, and in our long-standing relationship with The Evolution Institute and its founder, David Sloan Wilson. His efforts, along with those of many others, have expanded that paradigm beyond biology to encompass group selection and cultural evolution, with special focus on the evolution of human nature, and humans’ unparalleled evolved instincts for cooperation — even on the scale of billions of individuals. Evolutionary thinking, with its necessary understandings of game theory, complexity, and emergent properties, shows great promise as a foundation, underpinning, and model for the next evolution of economics.
But evolution is only one part of The Next Evolution. In this age of paradigm-shifting, many other approaches and schools hold great promise — behavioral economics, social-science field studies and natural experiments, agent-based simulations, big-data analysis, a diverse set of “accounting-based” methodologies, and others. So, many articles that you find in Evonomics don’t bear an obvious, direct relationship to evolution and complexity theory. We’re exploring The Next Evolution of Economics; evolutionary thinking is one important (and arguably necessary) part of that.
Evonomics was launched in October 2015 by founding editor Robert Kadar and co-founder Joe Brewer. Steve Roth, an early and active advisor and participant, serves as publisher. It seems to have a struck a nerve, rapidly attracting hundreds of thousands of page views a month. Evonomics has become an amplifier and soundboard for new economic thinking, expanding the reach of that thinking to a broad community of citizens, thinkers, influencers, and policymakers.
We’re committed to continuing that growth, bringing news of The Next Evolution to even more people — from everyday kitchen tables to the highest tables of policy and power.
Thanks for reading. If you’d like to support this mission — mostly a labor of love so far — please visit our donations page.
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