Markets

Complexity Economics Shows Us Why Laissez-Faire Economics Always Fails

Markets are a type of ecosystem that is complex, adaptive, and subject to the same evolutionary forces as nature.

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By Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer 

During 2007 and 2008, giant financial institutions were obliterated, the net worth of most Americans collapsed, and most of the world’s economies were brought to their knees.

At the same time, this has been an era of radical economic inequality, at levels not seen since 1929. Over the last three decades, an unprecedented consolidation and concentration of earning power and wealth has made the top 1 percent of Americans immensely richer while middleclass Americans have been increasingly impoverished.

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To most Americans and certainly most economists and policymakers, these two phenomena seem unrelated. In fact, traditional economic theory and contemporary American economic policy does not seem to admit the possibility that they are connected in any way.

And yet they are—deeply. We aim to show that a modern understanding of economies as complex, adaptive, interconnected systems forces us to conclude that radical inequality and radical economic dislocation are causally linked: one brings and amplifies the other.

If we want a high-growth society with broadly shared prosperity, and if we want to avoid dislocations like the one we have just gone through, we need to change our theory of action foundationally. We need to stop thinking about the economy as a perfect, self-correcting machine and start thinking of it as a garden.

Traditional economic theory is rooted in a 19th- and 20th-century understanding of science and mathematics. At the simplest level, traditional theory assumes economies are linear systems filled with rational actors who seek to optimize their situation. Outputs reflect a sum of inputs, the system is closed, and if big change comes it comes as an external shock. The system’s default state is equilibrium. The prevailing metaphor is a machine.

But this is not how economies are. It never has been. As anyone can see and feel today, economies behave in ways that are non-linear and irrational, and often violently so. These often-violent changes are not external shocks but emergent properties—the inevitable result—of the way economies behave.

The traditional approach, in short, completely misunderstands human behavior and natural economic forces. The problem is that the traditional model is not an academic curiosity; it is the basis for an ideological story about the economy and government’s role—and that story has fueled policymaking and morphed into a selfishness-justifying conventional wisdom.

Even today, the debate between free marketeers and Keynesians unfolds on the terms of the market fundamentalists: government stimulus efforts are usually justified as a way to restore equilibrium, and defended as regrettable deviations from government’s naturally minimalist role.

Fortunately, as we’ve described above, it is now possible to understand and describe economic systems as complex systems like gardens. And it is now reasonable to assert that economic systems are not merely similar to ecosystems; they are ecosystems, driven by the same types of evolutionary forces as ecosystems. Eric Beinhocker’s The Origin of Wealth is the most lucid survey available of this new complexity economics.

The story Beinhocker tells is simple, and not unlike the story Darwin tells. In an economy, as in any ecosystem, innovation is the result of evolutionary and competitive pressures. Within any given competitive environment—or what’s called a “fitness landscape”—individuals and groups cooperate to compete, to find solutions to problems and strategies for cooperation spread and multiply. Throughout, minor initial advantages get amplified and locked in— as do disadvantages. Whether you are predator or prey, spore or seed, the opportunity to thrive compounds and then concentrates. It bunches. It never stays evenly spread.

Like a garden, the economy consists of an environment and interdependent elements—sun, soil, seed, water. But far more than a garden, the economy also contains the expectations and interpretations all the agents have about what all the other agents want and expect. And that invisible web of human expectations becomes, in an everamplifying spiral, both cause and effect of external circumstances. Thus the housing-led financial crisis. Complexity scientists describe it in terms of “feedback loops.” Financier George Soros has described it as “reflexivity.” What I think you think about what I want creates storms of behavior that change what is.

Traditional economics holds that the economy is an equilibrium system; that things tend, over time, to even out and return to “normal.” Complexity economics shows that the economy, like a garden, is never in perfect balance or stasis and is always both growing and shrinking. And like an untended garden, an economy left entirely to itself tends toward unhealthy imbalances. This is a very different starting point, and it leads to very different conclusions about what the government should do about the economy.

Einstein said, “Make everything as simple as possible, but not too simple.” The problem with traditional economics is that it has made things too simple and then compounded the error by treating the oversimplification as gospel. The bedrock assumption of traditional economic theory and conventional economic wisdom is that markets are perfectly efficient and therefore self-correcting. This “efficient market hypothesis,” born of the machineage obsession with the physics of perfect mechanisms, is hard to square with intuition and reality—harder for laypeople than for economic experts. And yet, like a dead hand on the wheel, the efficient market hypothesis still drives everything in economic policymaking.

Consider that if markets are perfectly efficient then it must be true that:

–The market is always right.

–Markets distribute goods, services, and benefits rationally and efficiently.

–Market outcomes are inherently moral because they perfectly reflect talent and merit and so the rich deserve to be rich and the poor deserve to be poor.

–Any attempt to control market outcomes is inefficient and thus immoral.

–Any non-market activity is inherently suboptimal.

–If you can make money doing something not illegal, you should do it.

–As long as there is a willing buyer and seller, every transaction is moral.

–Any government solution, absent a total market failure, is a bad solution.

But, of course, markets properly understood are not actually efficient. So-called balances between supply and demand, while representing a fair approximation, do not in fact really exist. And because humans are not rational, calculating, and selfish, their behavior in market settings is inherently imperfect, unpredictable, and inefficient. Laypeople know this far better than experts.

Markets are a type of ecosystem that is complex, adaptive, and subject to the same evolutionary forces as nature. As in nature, evolution makes markets an unparalleled way of effectively solving human problems. But evolution is purpose-agnostic. If the market is oriented toward producing junk and calling it good GDP, market evolution will produce ever more marketable junk. As complex adaptive systems, markets are not like machines at all but like gardens. This means, then, that the following must be true:

–The market is often wrong.

–Markets distribute goods, services, and benefits in ways that often are irrational, semi-blind, and overdependent on chance.

–Market outcomes are not necessarily moral—and are sometimes immoral—because they reflect a dynamic blend of earned merit and the very unearned compounding of early advantage or disadvantage.

–If well-tended, markets produce great results but if untended, they destroy themselves.

–Markets, like gardens, require constant seeding, feeding, and weeding by government and citizens.

–More, they require judgments about what kind of growth is beneficial. Just because dandelions, like hedge funds, grow easily and quickly, doesn’t mean we should let them take over. Just because you can make money doing something doesn’t mean it is good for the society.

–In a democracy we have not only the ability but also the essential obligation to shape markets—through moral choices and government action—to create outcomes good for our communities.

You might think that this shift in metaphors and models is merely academic. Consider the following. In 2010, after the worst of the financial crisis had subsided but still soon enough for recollections to be vivid and honest, a group of Western central bankers and economists got together to assess what went wrong. To one participant in the meeting, who was not a banker but had studied the nature of economies in great depth, one thing became strikingly, shockingly clear. Governments had failed to anticipate the scope and speed of the meltdown because their model of the economy was fantastically detached from reality.

For instance, the standard model used by many central banks and treasuries, called a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model, did not include banks. Why? Because in a perfectly efficient market, banks are mere pass-throughs, invisibly shuffling money around. How many consumers did this model take into account in its assumptions about the economy? Millions? Hundreds of thousands? No, just one. One perfectly average or “representative” consumer operating perfectly rationally in the marketplace. Facing a crisis precipitated by the contagion of homeowner exuberance,fueled by the pathological recklessness of bond traders and bankers, abetted by inattentive government watchdogs, and leading to the deepest recession since the Great Depression, the Fed and other Western central banks found themselves fighting a crisis their models said could not happen.

This is an indictment not only of central bankers and the economics profession; nor merely of the Republicans whose doctrine abetted such intellectual malpractice; it is also an indictment of the Democrats who, bearing responsibility for making government work, allowed such a dreamland view of the world to drive government action in the national economy. They did so because over the course of 20 years they too had become believers in the efficient market hypothesis. Where housing and banking were concerned, there arose a faith-based economy: faith in rational individuals, faith in ever-rising housing values, and faith that you would not be the one left standing when the music stopped.

We are not, to be emphatically clear, anti-market. In fact, we are avid capitalists. Markets have an overwhelming benefit to human societies, and that is their unmatched ability to solve human problems. A modern understanding of economies sees them as complex adaptive systems subject to evolutionary forces. Those forces enable competition for the ability to survive and succeed as a consequence of the degree to which problems for customers are solved. Understood thus, wealth in a society is simply the sum of the problems it has managed to solve for its citizens. Eric Beinhocker calls this “information.” As Beinhocker notes, less developed “poor” societies have very few solutions available. Limited housing solutions. Limited medical solutions. Limited nutrition and recreation solutions. Limited information. Contrast this with a modern Western superstore with hundreds of thousands of SKUs, each representing a unique solution to a unique problem.

But markets are agnostic to what kind of problems they solve and for whom. Whether a market produces more solutions for human medical challenges or more solutions for human warfare—or whether it invents problems like bad breath for which more solutions are needed—is wholly a consequence of the construction of that market, and that construction will always be human made, either by accident or by design. Markets are meant to be servants, not masters.

As we write, the Chinese government is making massive, determined, strategic investments in their renewable energy industry. They’ve decided that it’s better for the world’s largest population and second-largest economy to be green than not—and they are shaping the market with that goal in mind. By doing so they both reduce global warming and secure economic advantage in the future. We are captive, meanwhile, to a market fundamentalism that calls into question the right of government to act at all—thus ceding strategic advantage to our most serious global rival and putting America in a position to be poorer, weaker, and dirtier down the road. Even if there hadn’t been a housing collapse, the fact that our innovative energies were going into building homes we didn’t need and then securitizing the mortgages for those homes says we are way off track.

Now, it might be noted that for decades, through administrations of both parties, our nation did have a massive strategic goal of promoting homeownership—and that what we got for all that goal-setting was a housing-led economic collapse. But setting a goal doesn’t mean then going to sleep; it requires constant, vigilant involvement to see whether the goal is the right goal and whether the means of reaching the goal come at too great a cost. Homeownership is a sound goal. That doesn’t mean homeownership by any means necessary is a sound policy. Pushing people into mortgages they couldn’t truly afford and then opening a casino with those mortgages as the chips was not the only way to increase homeownership. What government failed to do during the housing boom was to garden—to weed out the speculative, the predatory, the fraudulent.

Conventional wisdom says that government shouldn’t try to pick winners in the marketplace, and that such efforts are doomed to failure. Picking winners may be a fool’s errand, but choosing the game we play is a strategic imperative. Gardeners don’t make plants grow but they do create conditions where plants can thrive and they do make judgments about what should and shouldn’t be in the garden. These concentration decisions, to invest in alternative energy or not, to invest in biosciences or not, to invest in computational and network infrastructure or not, are essential choices a nation must make.

This is not picking winners; it’s picking games. Public sector leaders, with the counsel and cooperation of private sector experts, can and must choose a game to invest in and then let the evolutionary pressures of market competition determine who wins within that game. DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology), NIH (National Institutes of Health), and other effective government entities pick games. They issue grand challenges. They catalyze the formation of markets, and use public capital to leverage private capital. To refuse to make such game-level choices is to refuse to have a strategy, and is as dangerous in economic life as it would be in military operations. A nation can’t “drift” to leadership. A strong public hand is needed to point the market’s hidden hand in a particular direction.

Markets as Machines vs. Markets as Gardens

Understanding economics in this new way can revolutionize our approach and our politics. The shift from mechanistic models to complex ecological ones is not one of degree but of kind. It is the shift from a tradition that prizes fixity and predictability to a mindset that is premised on evolution. Compare two frames in capsule form:

Machine view: Markets are efficient, thus sacrosanct
Garden view: Markets are effective, if well tended

In the traditional view, markets are sacred because they are said to be the most efficient allocators of resources and wealth. Complexity science shows that markets are often quite inefficient—and that there is nothing sacred about today’s man-made economic arrangements. But complexity science also shows that markets are the most effective force for producing innovation, the source of all wealth creation. The question, then, is how to deploy that force to benefit the greatest number.

Machine view: Regulation destroys markets
Garden view: Markets need fertilizing and weeding, or else are destroyed

Traditionalists say any government interference distorts the “natural” and efficient allocation that markets want to achieve. Complexity economists show that markets, like gardens, get overrun by weeds or exhaust their nutrients (education, infrastructure, etc.) if left alone, and then die—and that the only way for markets to deliver broadbased wealth is for government to tend them: enforcing rules that curb anti-social behavior, promote pro-social behavior, and thus keep markets functioning.

Machine view: Income inequality reflects unequal effort and ability
Garden view: Inequality is what markets naturally create and compound, and requires correction

Traditionalists assert, in essence, that income inequality is the result of the rich being smarter and harder working than the poor. This justifies government neglect in theface of inequality. The markets-as-garden view would not deny that smarts and diligence are unequally distributed. But in their view, income inequality has much more to do with the inexorable nature of complex adaptive systems like markets to result in self-reinforcing concentrations of advantage and disadvantage. This necessitates government action to counter the unfairness and counterproductive effects of concentration.

Machine view: Wealth is created through competition and by the pursuit of narrow self-interest
Garden view: Wealth is created through trust and cooperation

Where traditionalists put individual selfishness on a moral pedestal, complexity economists show that norms of unchecked selfishness kill the one thing that determines whether a society can generate (let alone fairly allocate) wealth and opportunity: trust. Trust creates cooperation, and cooperation is what creates win-win outcomes. Hightrust networks thrive; low-trust ones fail. And when greed and self-interest are glorified above all, high-trust networks become low-trust. See: Afghanistan.

Machine view: Wealth = individuals accumulating money
Garden view: Wealth = society creating solutions

One of the simple and damning limitations of traditional economics is that it can’t really explain how wealth gets generated. It simply assumes wealth. And it treats money as the sole measure of wealth. Complexity economics, by contrast, says that wealth is solutions: knowledge applied to solve problems. Wealth is created when new ideas— inventing a wheel, say, or curing cancer—emerge from a competitive, evolutionary environment. In the same way, the greatness of a garden comes not just in the sheer volume but also in the diversity and usefulness of the plants it contains.

In other words, money accumulation by the rich is not the same as wealth creation by a society. If we are serious about creating wealth, our focus should not be on taking care of the rich so that their money trickles down; it should be on making sure everyone has a fair chance—in education, health, social capital, access to financial capital— to create new information and ideas. Innovation arises from a fertile environment that allows individual genius to bloom and that amplifies individual genius, through cooperation, to benefit society. Extreme concentration of wealth without modern precedent that has undermined equality of opportunity and thus limited our overall economic potential.

Illustration credit: Elliot Gerard. To see more artwork from Elliot, follow him on Instagram and Twitter @elliotgerard

gardens(c) 2011 by Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer. Excerpted from The Gardens of Democracy by permission of Sasquatch Books.

2016 February 21


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  • Je’ Czaja

    Yup. The old metaphor of mechanical laws is out of date. They were so enamored of machines, they applied the model even to human beings and ground them up for fuel-they were just resources, like standing timber-human resources.

  • John M Legge
  • Pedro Romero

    This is ideological, too bad

  • This piece suffers from two serious problems, bit has one accurate insight.

    First problem: Almost every description of current economic thinking is a straw man. No one believes that markets are infallible, the equilibrium states really exist, etc. They are all simplifications designed to highlight certain aspects of behavior. Almost everyone understands that models are useful for understanding aspects of how the world works, not for predicting specific states of the world.

    Second problem: A pollyanaish view of how government operates. It does operate by the fiat of the omniscient and omnibenevolent. It has a very primitive feedback mechanism (voting), huge agency problems (bureaucracy), being subject to special interest capture, etc. That being said in the United States, it benefits from well meaning actors at many levels, but very often that is not sufficient to overcome its very serious problems and limitations.

    The key insight is that the economy is like an ecosystem. True! When thinking about what the government ought to do, we should be thinking with more modesty about what the government can do to improve the operation of markets. IMHO this means trying to get the big things right (e.g. implementing a simple consumption tax or a carbon tax, intellectual property rights, etc.) while letting the actors in the market actors determine (imperfectly) where to make investments in industry. Investments in public goods are a closer call, but I would be modest about the likelihood that the government will get these decisions right and think we would be better off trying to see if there was some way to let market participants make these decisions, e.g. making it easier to build toll roads.

    • davidcayjohnston

      Actually only the minority of people who seriously studied economics understand your first, and accurate, point.

      Sadly many Americans have no idea what equilibrium means, conflate the ideal barrierless “free” market with competitive markets and thus fail to see the damage from oligopolies, duopolies, stealth subsidies, etc.

      • jayrayspicer

        It’s not a straw man argument if many people actually believe it, even if you don’t. If you have a different argument, then the counterargument to the “straw man” may not apply to your argument, but it’s still not a straw man; it’s just not addressing *your* argument. Perhaps you’re not their target audience.

        Ah, but it’s also not a straw man argument if it accurately states what you, in fact, believe, even if you agree with some orthodoxy more carefully than the hoi polloi.
        Liu and Hanauer say, “Traditional economic theory is rooted in a 19th- and 20th-century understanding of science and mathematics. At the simplest level, traditional theory assumes economies are linear systems filled with rational actors who seek to optimize their situation. Outputs reflect a sum of inputs, the system is closed, and if big change comes it comes as an external shock. The system’s default state is equilibrium.”

        DWAnderson says, “No one believes that markets are infallible, the equilibrium states really exist, etc. They are all simplifications designed to highlight certain aspects of behavior. Almost everyone understands that models are useful for understanding aspects of how the world works, not for predicting specific states of the world.”

        First, as davidcayjohnston points out, many, many people, including many who directly influence government policy, literally believe the things that DWAnderson says no one or almost no one believes. They certainly say as much on the campaign trail and on the floor of the House and Senate.
        Second, how exactly do the above two quotes differ in their interpretation of neoclassical/neoliberal orthodoxy? Liu and Hanauer assert that a simple interpretation of traditional theory *assumes* linear systems, rational actors seeking optimization, etc. DWAnderson says that these ideas are simplifications for the purposes of modeling, which is what Milton Friedman asserted. Where’s the disagreement? Where is the alleged straw man? Liu and Hanauer seem to have accurately described DWAnderson’s explicitly stated belief.

        The fact is that neoclassical/neoliberal orthodoxy rests entirely on simplifying axioms that make the work of an orthodox economist easier, but have no foundation in empirical reality. Economic actors are rarely rational and almost never even try to optimize their decisions outside of very narrow data considerations and time constraints. I have yet to encounter a cost/benefit analysis in the business world that really attempts a comprehensive and quantitative approach to external or intangible costs and benefits, even though this is actually possible with Bayesian methods. I’m sure it’s done occasionally, but who has time for that? Besides, data unavailability, near-incomprehensible multivariate interactions, and near-infinite opportunity costs render rational maximization mathematically intractable. Good thing nobody ever really tries it.

        And while DWAnderson seems to be of the opinion that government and democracy are just too damn risky to trust with anything important, it’s painfully clear that markets can’t be trusted to referee themselves. The government referees the game. The people referee the government. If that’s not working, fix it. Don’t throw up your hands and put your faith in markets. Markets don’t care what we want. Markets set prices; they don’t have values. Democratic government allows the people to set values-based boundaries around markets and to encourage markets in the most beneficial and least harmful directions. Markets are not capable of making these decisions. Markets determine who wins and loses the games. They don’t decide what kind of league to set up. Society is OK with baseball. We’re not OK with gladiators hacking each others’ limbs off. There’s probably a market for that, though.

        Markets are natural selection at work. Natural selection is blind; it has no goals with which to guide evolution. Humans are increasingly capable of guiding their own evolution. We care about the future of our species in a way that our genes can’t. We are also capable of guiding markets. And we should, because we care about market outcomes in a way that markets can’t. It’s one of those erroneous simplifying assumptions to hope that all the individual market decisions will add up to the aggregate will of the people. We know that’s empirically false. Without government guidance, all the individual market decisions add up to the aggregate will of the oligarchy.

        • davidcayjohnston

          I think you meant to reply to DWAnderson, not to me…He made the straw man argument.

        • Jorge Icabalceta

          Your statement, sir, is full of contradictions as big as the contradictions in the original article by Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer. You, as the authors, talk about how economists (All economists?) think and what they believe. That is a huge mistake. You sir, do not know me and you do not know a bunch of economists. So, how can you talk in my behalf and in behalf of many economists you have not taken the time to ask?

          Second, you and the authors keep talking about “markets” as if markets are some sort of devices. Well, let me enlighten you. Markets are people. I do not need to compare markets to machines or gardens. Why don’t we just state the fact that markets are people? It is just
          pure nonsense to use other terms when you have the right one in front of you.

          Third, I am tired of making nitwits understand that economic theory is just that, theory. We use economic theory as a vehicle to explore issues and to try to get a sense of what the hell is going on. But, in my 12 years of economic education, no instructor ever told me that theories are sacred. Besides, the very fact that economics is always in evolution is because we question economic theory and develop it. Nobody ever
          told me all the bs you said about markets being perfect. In no book of
          economics I have ever read that. All this constant attack against a theory by you and people like you is a distraction from the real issues.

          What are the real issues? Well let me put them succinctly to you: Creation and distribution of wealth. The authors say economists act as if we do not know how wealth is created. That statement just shows how little the authors know economists. How about the distribution of
          wealth? You say that economists do not care about that. Nothing is farther from the truth. We do care and we advise, we point out, we propose. But, the people in power do not listen. I dare you to go to onepercenters and try to convince them about how unfair their behavior is. I dare anyone to do that. The answer you will get is that they deserve that wealth. It is not economists or economic theory, it is people with power.

          So, while you keep blaming anything or anyone for whatever is happening without taking into considerations humans and their
          values, you are just wasting your time and other people’s time.

          • jayrayspicer

            Jorge Icabalceta, I’m not sure why you’re attacking me or Liu and Hanauer. You seem to be complaining about exactly what we are complaining about. I totally agree that economics that don’t take into account humans and their values is useless or dangerous. Which is exactly the problem with neoclassical/neoliberal theory. The prevailing economic theory tells the one percenters that they’re not doing anything wrong when they so clearly are. And I never said anything about “all” economists. I singled out neoclassical/neoliberal economists. I don’t have to ask all economists in order to knock down the gibberish of the ones I happen to be talking about.

            I also never said anything about markets being devices. Of course markets involve people making economic decisions. Liu and Hanauer certainly used a couple of analogies to make their points, but that’s fairly standard practice in debate, in order to illustrate a point. Don’t like the analogies? Point out their flaws, but you’re unlikely to get anybody to stop using them.

            You should know that the word “theory” means “explanatory framework” in an academic setting. Dismissing something as “just a theory” doesn’t really make a lot of sense, except in the vernacular. Unfortunately, the neoclassical/neoliberal theory is an explanatory framework founded on nonsense and useful to people who like oligarchy. Theories aren’t sacred, but they can be more or less useful in explaining the world and being productive of research and models that help people understand the world. Neoclassical/neoliberal theory utterly fails as a productive framework. It seems to explain human behavior, but when you look closely, the humans look more like robots. Consequently, the theory is incapable of making accurate predictions about the real world.

            Neoclassical/neoliberal economics doesn’t say that markets are perfect or that people are rational maximizers (to take two examples). Instead, the theory states that in aggregate, for purposes of modeling, you can assume that they are. This bit of legerdemain is nonsense. It might make sense if they had any empirical research showing the shape of the distribution curves around “perfect” and “rational” and “maximization”, but they don’t, so the baseline of every model is built on a foundation of sand.

            Until we have a proper theory, it’s hard to even see the real issues. Economists may engage in impressive mathematics, but with bogus axioms, it’s no better than guesswork. Garbage in, garbage out. And since neoclassical/neoliberal gibberish is the prevailing economic theory, people in power actually do use it as their roadmap to policy. Countless influential people actually believe it and use it to justify destructive policies. They may not be listening to you, but they’re certainly listening to economists, very closely and very disastrously, because they’ve bet on the wrong theoretical horse. When the prevailing theory is doing this much damage, we have to keep hammering at its foundations to dismantle it.

          • ChrisTavareIsMyIdol

            Then you haven’t studied economics.

          • Economis Theories are valid as long as you know what are the values at play, Basic theory is that people value some things/time/recognition/etc. more than other things, as well as knowing that at a certain point the more you have the less you value more of it …. Etc. etc. one just has to know (which is differcult at times) what are the values being traded. As for the 1% or for that matter the .001% ers, you have no concept of their values and what they are dealing with ….. Part of the problem is envy! There is nothing unfair about trying to meet the needs of the people while making a profit. An actor gets paid for acting, some get paid more some less, some are in the top 1% some or in the bottom 1%, but there is noting unfair about that. ….. IF it was not for Steven Jobs, we would not have the Apple products, he had to learn how to be the CEO he became, and as a result he became very very rich, but his wealth benifited many other people, and the products he sold benifited many other people …. It was a win/win all the way ….. What is unfair, it not the conduct of most of the top 10 percent, it is the conduct of union leaders like the NEA that actively keep the POOR poor, instead of letting children go to the best schools for the children, the NEA work to keep children in schools that do not educate ….. This in not economics at play, it is raw power, as some would say PEOPLE POWER used against the POOR!

          • John M Legge

            Your descent into personal abuse reveals the shallowness of your understanding of both economics and reality.

        • “Economic actors are rarely rational and almost never even try to optimize their decisions outside of very narrow data considerations and time constraints” …. That does not mean that they are acting irrational, it terms of their own values, and the time constraints they have to make choice …. The fact that their choices may differ from yours seems to be part to the issue you have with Adam Smith. Government almost never look our for the common man, which is why our founders tried to limit Government. Most of the time government trys to guide the economy towards a oligarchy…. Not aways for it. All the while taking funds from the producers and transferring them to employees of the state.Hense today, government employees get better pay, better benifits, at less risk, than non-government employees.

        • ChrisTavareIsMyIdol

          Laughable response

    • Henry Leveson-Gower

      I cannot see how models can be useful for anything if they fundamentally misrepresent the world they seek to describe. This defence of current economic models seems meaningless.

      • Garrett Watson

        “All models are wrong, but some are useful.” – G.P. Box

        • John M Legge

          A model that is built on false assumptions (as distinct from simplifying from reality) or incorporates a contradiction can be used to “prove” anything.

    • Swami

      They should let DWA write the opinion pieces. More wisdom and nuance in his brief response than this entire rambling and in places dishonest original article.

    • A good review of the situation, the government more often than not causes the problems that people blame the free market for. The Great Depression should have been a simple correction, but the Government both under Hoover, and moreso under FDR caused the Great Depresseion and our recovery was due to Truman not WW2. The same is true for the Great Recession of 2007-2016 which was caused mostly by poor Federal Policies, and then expended due to Obama’s policies. We are in a international world of trade, our tax polices need to be reformed to adjust to new facts. The Free Market is best in the long run, which does not mean there are no Government, it just mean that we need better educated people in Government. Employment Base taxes promote the conservation of Labor (unemployment) which is foolish. There should be no taxes on employment until we have over employment. To replace the lost revenue from employment base taxes we should pass the FAIR TAX on GOODs which would do much to improve employment. And as pointed out by Adam Smith in 1776, parents should pick the school that their children go to, the state should just allocate funds to the schools or to the parents based on where the child goes to school. This would also promote employment and reduce government spending on support programs.

      • John M Legge

        What on earth are your smoking?

  • philofra

    The title is interesting: “Complexity
    Economics Shows Us Why Laissez-Faire Economics Always Fails”

    It sounds a bit too simple. For one, ‘laissez faire’ doesn’t really or completely exist, just like ‘free trade’ doesn’t really or completely exit. Things are always more complex than that, especially when humans are involved. If there had been a total laissez faire in place as the writer suggested the economic crisis of 2008 would have ended everything, since there would have been no back-up systems in place to fix or temper things. The back-up systems that saved a total economic meltdown from happening were constructed of complex mechanisms that had been developed from past knowledge and experiences. Fortunately there were so complex thinkers in charge at the time.

    Ironically, though, things were not as simple as this article makes out because here was a ‘complexity’ involved that helped bring about the financial crisis of 2008. It was made of a complex web of derivatives that few economists understood. Those complex derivatives are what really were behind the meltdown of 2008.

  • Robert Lapsley

    The garden metaphor might be a rhetorical fallacy. These biased adjectives like “unhealthy”, (“tends toward unhealthy imbalances.”) imply intention. We resist entertaining the amoral nature of the dynamics of complex systems. I don’t insist human agency has no effect on evolutions. But our ideologies are narrow, soft and imperfect. Human attribution of value need not align with the natural world’s evolution. Surprised we are when they differ, read “unintended consequences”. If no intended exist then any winding way is as good or bad as the next. We have been describing nature of systems dynamics for some time now, and if I am not off the rails, I would suggest that every possible pathway forward into the future is pressed. Every niche where potential can unwind, will be filled. Those extant manifestations that “survive”, those moves allowed for, encounter new constraints which open and close possible futures moves.
    My point is we take care when characterizing the dynamics of our economies as value laden; our mores, ethics and morality are riding on top of natural systems.

  • sageflower

    I’ve read the book. It is clear and easy to read. The logic needs no enhancement. We all need to tend this garden or it will go to ruin. it is already well on its way there.

  • efalken

    If you really want to change people’s minds, don’t use straw man arguments like “markets are efficient, thus sacrosanct.” Otherwise, you are just preaching to the choir.

  • So many great ideas in this post, and also so many mixed up ideas.

    Laissez faire works in a sense, it produces the outcomes that it does, its just that in terms of long term survival probabilities, it delivers very low probabilities of long term survival for anyone in the system.
    When things are genuinely scarce it works remarkably well (though with the noted problems), but as exponential advances in information processing bring about exponential advances in the domains where universal abundance is possible, the whole notion of markets (being a scarcity based value measure) introduces major instabilities that have a high probability of collapsing the system as a whole at some point (not just recession, but oscillation into a totally competitive modality taking all human life with it).

    The article is really good, in as far as it explores complexity, and compares classical equilibrium economics with complexity economics. And that is only taking a single step into the realm of complexity. It is infinite, there are lots more steps.

    Wolfram, with NKS, takes a step into the abstract and generalised realms of computation and relationship, but he holds on tightly to the notion of causality. He does go so far as to firmly establish the idea of maximal computational complexity, and thus demonstrate that there are entire classes, even in the most simple of computational systems, of systems that are not reducible to any sort of predictive formula. The only way to see what will happen in such systems is to run them and see. There are many levels of such systems in living systems, and as economics is the study of an aspect of human beings (an instance of a living system) there are many aspects of us that are not predictable in any sense (even if one assumes {as Wolfram does} that they are fully causal).

    If one follows Bayes, and the experimental evidence of QM, where they actually seem to lead, then (in the twin contexts of complexity theory and probability theory) Ockham seems to take us to a place where any stochastic system which is constrained in some way to some set of probability distributions, will, in a sufficiently large collection, display sets of properties that deliver outcomes that very closely approximate hard causality.

    So Wolfram, Dennett and many others hold firmly to assumptions of hard causality, which have the ultimate outcome of making us automata and invalidating any non-trivial level of morality. Much as I admire both Dennett and Wolfram and many others, the foundational assumptions of causality they cling to do not seem to follow Ockham’s dictates.

    It seems clear, that in a world that is fundamentally stochastic, fundamentally random to some degree, then it will develop properties that deliver both a close approximation to causality in large collections, and allow for genuine (non-deterministic) freedom to coexist. Thus we can get what we seem to have, both causality and morality (though neither being absolute – though workable in practice).

    So what does this have to do with economics?

    Economics is in a sense a study of human behaviour – what do we do and why?

    Behaviour is about goals and goals can be thought of as deriving from values – but that seems to not actually be how it is.

    Actually what seems to be reality, is that at every level, evolution (natural selection, selective survival of variants) seems to select what works (at the genetic level, at the cultural level, and at any other sets of levels that might emerge). So it seems that ultimately, all of our likes and dislikes, all of our morality, our deepest or highest desires, derive from survival at some level of systems.

    So when Beinhocker talks of “fitness landscapes” and “individuals and groups cooperate to compete” that is true in a sense, and if taken at face value it leads to a not very useful understanding of evolution.

    In order to be useful, the understanding must look at the nature of the strategic environment, the nested levels of context, as well as the nested levels of associated sets of strategies. This applies from the subcellular groupings of RNAs, proteins, DNAs, into cells, organelles, and on up the genetic tree of diversity of life forms. It applies equally to the mimetic and cultural environments that have evolved on top of (and in the context of) those genetic systems. And it applies to those entities that have emerged from that nested set of cosmological, chemical and genetic contexts and the emergent mimetic and cultural contexts.

    So in this context, there is some real power in the statement “What I think you think about what I want creates storms of behavior that change what is”, and the levels of replicators possible in the system seem to be infinitely extensible, not at all confined to the two reasonably well described ones of genetic and mimetic.

    So rather than being like a garden, it is much more like wandering through a TARDIS, that every time you open a door to a room, it grows three new rooms, with three new doors, not just in the room behind the door you just opened, but in every room thus far in existence. This seems to be the nature of the reality we find ourselves in. The Zen Buddhists seem to have captured a flavour of it in their saying “that for the master, on a path worth walking, for every step on the path, the destination grows two steps further away”.

    In such a reality, it is the values we as free agents choose (in as much as we do choose, and are not simply tools of our unexamined genetic and cultural history) that are of prime importance.

    It seems clear to me that individual life must take pride of place, followed closely by individual liberty (our own and everyone else’s, in near equal measure) if we are to have any reasonable chance of living long enough to have a reasonable exploration of the infinities available to the enquiring mind. And in that context, Wolfram has clearly shown, that whatever basis one assumes, strictly causal, or more loosely constrained stochastic causal, the principle of maximal computational complexity will be our companion – which guarantees uncertainty and unknowability in practice of many classes of aspects of reality.

    So it becomes very clear in logic and reason, that it is time for humanity to acknowledge the real historical utility of markets, the way in which they supported freedom in a context of genuine scarcity, and to move past such scarcity based paradigms into an age of freedom in abundance, where security (in as much as it can exist) is delivered by distributed trust networks, distributed information networks, distributed production networks, and massive redundancy at all levels (to give as much flexibility as possible to respond to the unknowns and unknowables that must logically reside in all complex systems.

    The statement “If well-tended, markets produce great results but if untended, they destroy themselves” could arguably be said to be true for most of history up until very recently, when scarcity did genuinely dominate the world of goods and services.

    Now that we have the computational ability to access universal abundance, either we go beyond economics, or economics will most probably destroy us – there really isn’t any stable middle ground.

    • Robert Lapsley

      I appreciate your post. It shows a well read understanding of complexity. I don’t quite understand your idea of universal abundance. I have always felt it is obvious that as we expand our numbers, we will be incrementally and increasingly constrained by natural resources. In addition when considering the importance of structure of the nodes and connections in networks, some ties being more or less critical to the emergent properties of higher levels. I worry that as we continue to expand our economies we also risk cutting the ties that allow for the continued natural services we depend on.

      I am really happy to hear mention of “the values we as free agents choose”! This before all else I think is the nut to crack. So… If our ethics and morality are human attributions of value… fundamentally describing our relationships with the world. These relations inform our reason and are responsible for the creative complexities of our modern lives, of all our history. I read you correctly, we could agree that “We” decide what relations are of value to us.
      More, We decide the existential first, and principle concern, the foundation, the structural underpinning, the framework, supporting all of our patchwork morals… we humans decide what this should be. And, I hope we could agree that our continued existence on the planet Earth should be our first and principle concern. If so, then all other principles of moral conduct should be rooted here; from here stems our ethics.
      I hope you would consider the entailed ethics it requires. If you agree with this first principle, it seems intuitive that there are objective truths that we can reasonably conclude. Like the obvious: we need what the Earth provides. We need water, and food, and air to breath. This is an obvious fact of biology, yet, few ever pause to consider Earth’s ecology is providing us these “natural services”, critical services that allow for our continued existence. Without any one of these, our future is improbable at best. So wouldn’t the first principle of our continued existence entail our second principle of “Earth first”? Protecting the Earth’s ecology reduces the existential risk of our loosing the natural services provided. We increase the probability, we inflate the risk with our continued interventions in the processes providing such services.
      It follows, economic agency, which serves to benefit the ecosphere, serves the whole of Humanity’s future, and the individual pursuing any interest at the expense of natural systems health, commits a crime against humanity’s future generations. Unfortunately from this my lonely standpoint, the hallowed and certain unalienable rights to “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is now viewed by me as dependent and a lower order concern constrained by the first and second. If man governs his fate best by serving something greater than himself, that something should before all else do no harm to the ecosphere.

      • Hi Robert,
        The assumption that expanding numbers will create resource constraint is based upon the assumption of static technology. Our technical capacity is expanding at a far greater exponential than our population (population is currently about 3% per annum and dropping, while computation is 120% per annum and increasing). Thus we are finding ways to do more with less, faster than our need for more is increasing.

        So yes, there are physical limits, and right now, we still have quite a bit of room inside the technology curve before we reach those limits.

        When you look back into history, the hunter gatherer technology of sustaining humans required over a million square meters per person. As we developed agriculture that number has dropped, and as we refine agriculture and molecular level manufacturing even further, those number will drop further still. As we grow fruits and vegetables under cover, in small isolated units, we can isolate from insects and birds and mammals, and as filter technologies develop we will shortly even be able to remove airborne spores. Those two abilities remove the need for chemical sprays (which are low levels toxins for us, but much better than starvation).

        The actual limit for humans, by living under our rooftop gardens and solar panels, on top of our water storage and deep underground recycling and high speed transport networks, seems to be around 500 square meters per person (for food and energy enough to live what most of us would consider a high standard of living – with energy efficient high tech giving us serving robots to do all the maintenance work on house and garden, and all the cooking cleaning etc required to maintain everything (including themselves). We’re not quite at the level of being able to produce all that technology right now, and it will certainly be available within 20 years, so we had better be prepared for it.
        At that limit of technology, and leaving half the land surface for natural ecosystems, while modifying the rest for human use, we could sustain 10 billion people using half the land surface, none of the water, and having sufficient reserves to survive a loss of half the capacity to natural disaster.

        If we were to use 20% of the ocean for food and energy farms for coastal megacities we could easily double that population. So about 20 billion is a practical limit if we are ensuring that every individual has the sorts of freedom of travel, communication and manufacture that I as the CEO of a software company consider reasonable.

        Everything has to do with the technologies we employ. Currently most of our manufacturing technology is based on scales that suit human supervised tools. When we have molecular level nano-scale manufacturing and resource recycling, then everything changes.

        So yes – we need to consider the ecosystem we live with, and we don’t need to be reliant upon them, we can isolate and optimise those aspects we need for survival purposes, while retaining the rest for enjoyment purposes. And I have been a lifelong conservationist, have studied ecology and biochemistry at university, currently chair our district zone water management committee, and a member of our regional biodiversity committee, and chair the Huttons Shearwater Charitable Trust, and have over 40 years involvement in fisheries management – so I don’t just write about this stuff, I do it in practice, and am all too conscious of the practical issues we face, and the technological advances needed to address them, and the inadequacy of free market incentives to do that job.

        And yes – it seems clear to me that ultimately all of our values resolve back to survival at some level, through some chain of genetic or mimetic evolutionary linkages.
        And yes, I am certainly all about systems that enhance survival probabilities for humans first and foremost, and for most other life forms also (not for those that pose significant direct threats to human survival).

        And also yes – clean air, with about 20% oxygen, clean fresh water, adequate nutritious, tasty, safe food are all prerequisites for a full life, as are health care, education, transportation, tools, shelter, information, and general security (freedom from threats).

        I have some issues with the “pursuit of happiness”, in as much as when you look deeply into the origins of happiness, at the genetic and cultural levels of evolution, through the many biochemical pathways, it seems to be various sets of survival directives averaged over the conditions present in the deep time of our genetic and cultural evolution. Little in that deep past is compatible our exponentially changing technological present, so many of the things that worked for our deep ancestors no longer work for us. So the default setting for “happiness” can lead us seriously astray (like drinking sugar water drinks) And with knowledge we can manage such things, and with that provisio, certainly, the pursuit of whatever we reasonably choose, within the context of the survival of ourselves and all others, and within the context of the greatest level of reasonable freedom we can supply to all.

        I am not about serving anything.

        I am about individual survival and individual liberty, and that comes in a context of cosmology, chemistry, evolution, and the existence of a large set of other sapient entities (human and non-human, biological and non-biological) with the same rights to life and liberty as myself. The complex system that results necessarily has flexible context sensitive boundaries at every dimension of interaction.

      • David Bolinsky

        Robert Lapsley, If you have not run into the folks who study exponential growth, it would merit a look. There is evidence, with exponential growth in a broad range of important fields (computer science, algorithm design, genomics, proteomics, nanotechnology, solar power, etc) that the scarcity you describe (and which fits perfectly in a linear growth physical world with and exponentially growing population) will disappear, to be replaced by a universal abundance of food, power, clean water and universal education (to name but a few), all in less time than linear experience would predict. Peter Diamandis’ book ‘Abundance’ is a cool place to start and you can great ideas keenly detailed in Ramez Naam’s ‘The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet.’

    • Aodhain o falluin

      This was a fantastic reply thank you for sharing

  • Πάνος Μάντζαρης

    More from writers who do not seem to know what it is they are talking about … 🙁 (as far as I can tell)

  • Jordan

    Generally, love the ideas presented here. Thank you.

    However, in closing, the article all but equates wealth with innovation. This ignores the extreme problem which currently exists with hoarded, unshared, accumulated wealth: i.e.- assets which are protected by the exclusionary nature of ownership claims and held out of social circulation for the sole benefit of the owners..

    When so many trillions are off-shored, and so much accumulated wealth is claimed by so few individuals, it is not sufficient to merely address the fairness of “new” wealth creation. The immorality and theft committed by prior generations is the most obstructive and damaging weed in the garden and it needs to be plucked out.

  • Brian Gladish

    Markets are simply evolutionary processes. Are human beings a “perfect” outcome of biological evolution? The idea of perfection requires some normative point of view, which Evonomics displays in spades. Markets aren’t “perfect,” but just like biological evolution, they are a reality of life. If you don’t believe that, just try suppressing them.

  • Garrett Watson

    The irony here is that it is pro-market thinkers and economists who have been stalwart opponents of the idea that markets are machines. It’s the interventionists and technocrats who tend to see societies and economies as mechanistic entities that can be improved through scientific intervention. New Institutional and Public Choice economists have been all about how important the “rules of the game” are to societal and economic well-being, for example.

    • Andrew

      Thank you. This article – and Evonomics in general – seems to be deeply confused over the applicability of complexity theory and evolution to economics. Many of these articles start with the premise that evolutionary and complexity sciences are interesting and novel frameworks for reevaluating how we think about economies (which they are!), though typically fall far short of taking even a cursory look into what exactly these fields of study entail.

      They then somehow end with the bizarre conclusion that the justification for economic intervention flows from complexity science… because… science? It’s as though someone said “Hey, this complexity science stuff sounds cool! Lets glue it onto the same command-economy policy advocacy that is already the status quo, except pretend it’s something new that’s needed to combat a mythical ‘free market fundamentalist’ straw-man that doesn’t even exist!”

      The market is itself an evolving organism. To tamper with it through technocratic intervention is to artificially manipulate a natural evolutionary process. That’s not to say that a reasonable level of state regulation shouldn’t exist, but it’s incredibly bizarre to cite the bottom-up, decentralized, self-organizing principals of evolutionary theory as a logical basis for top-down intervention. Economic intervention has more in common with GMOs than natural evolution.

  • David Burns

    So free market advocates caused all the woes of history, and now we should give government intervention a try at last! Ha! My impression is that the gardeners have been at it from the beginning and the best the machiners have been able to do is prevent them from chopping off all the tomato buds.

    Nassim Taleb has given a much better critique of the efficient markets hypothesis. His has the advantage of actually addressing the hypothesis, rather than a parody. His critique focuses on the different behaviors implied by assumptions about the underlying statistical distribution of events. This one seems to mistake the efficient market hypothesis for the perfect market hypothesis.

  • KåBe

    The irony is that as we started to dominate nature and shape her according to our needs, we started treating the economy as a system that was to complicated for us to understand and should be left to govern itself.

  • Kai

    I like the article – thank you very much for that! The metapher of the garden could possibly exchanged for another metapher. The major argument behind it is that we should steer the economy because otherwise the maximization of short term gains leads to catastrophes that might be called automatic corrections that certainly no one wants. Here is a cause and effect model that shows the logical need for a market intervention: https://www.know-why.net/model/A35eyxvj73-mr0MzCUrU8DA

  • ChrisTavareIsMyIdol

    Utter nonsense. traditional economics explains what has happened in the USA. When jobs are exported and you have massive levels of immigration, wages for the poor fall

  • Andy White

    A far better comparison is a MIXED FARM than a Garden (a Farm is a working garden happening on a far larger scale and with specific function and purpose…. Mixed farming is about mixing animal husbandry with agriculture and horticulture.)

    “Markets are a type of ecosystem that is complex, adaptive, and subject to the same evolutionary forces as nature.”

    This quote is what Daniel Dennett would call a Deepity, something that is superficially correct, but some thing that if where actually true would make the world vastly different to what it is.

    “The markets” and “the Garden metaphor” both make out that economics is some “naturalistic reality” and can be considered using evolutionary thinking/theory. When the stark reality is that markets are entirely artificial creations (such as the farm to mark it as distinct from a garden – the working realities if farming and desired outcome make them distinctly “anti-natural”).

    Understanding the failure of liaise faire economics requires grasping on a deeper level than this article outlines the fundamental/ideological – PHILOSOPHICAL failure to understand human nature, or what society is and how civilisation actually functions.

    To give a “brief” – money is a fantastic TOOL in that it allows for the organisation of human interaction that allows for the specialisation and interaction of different elements of society. In order for this to function “the system” needs to be controlled, regulated and policed to “stay on task” in providing both “a level playing field, and coherent/fair set of rules as well as a divisioning of teams into different leagues to protect community /local /regional/ national/ international and global interests”.

    Please note my switching from Farming to Sporting is intentional as it relates to the difference between “main st” and “wall st” economics – between economic and financial interests.

  • Димитър Димитров

    The most imperfect market is the labor market and capital markets. Through them the system has strong positive feedbacks. But the most fearsome and destructive positive feedback is through politics and ideologies.The winners of the game of money and power throughout human history, absolutely always, are trying to rewrite the rules of the game for their own benefit and for the benefit of their generation.The end result has always been the same: stagnation, demotivation of the majority of people, inequality and catastrophe because the fresh barbarians come. 100 years ago there was no way to come and after the barbarian parv World War, Europe made them self -communism and fascism.

  • M A J Jeyaseelan

    This article is also full of half truths. It seems as though the authors are more keen on showing off their complaisance than on telling the whole truth. They show off their true colors by stating that ‘We are not, to be emphatically clear, anti-market. In fact, we are avid capitalists’.

    I hate condescence in academic thinking; and this article has an overload of it. All that they manage to do at the end of it all is to provide a justification for a gardener’s role for governments. They also seem to believe that these gardeners have some sort of an in-born ability or invisible hand to mend the garden and make it flourish.

    Governments have always been regulating markets all along directly or indirectly and the harsh truth is that economies have been overwhelmed by problems in spite of all these regulations. Inequalities have risen sharply not only in capitalistic economies but everywhere including the quasi communist Chinese economy. Economic problems including inequality are aggravating everywhere because of bad economics

    What is the full truth? The real truth is: neither the governments who are supposed to regulate nor the economists who are supposed to guide governments have any idea of the solutions. As a result, they have no option but to rely on the magic wand of markets to solve the problems. In my view, it is a sign of complete intellectual bankruptcy.

    The most important truth that we must remember is that all human progress is attributable their relentless pursuit of knowledge and solutions. There is no way by which economic problems can be solved by leaving it to the market with or without regulation.

    The continuing spate of economic problems is result of bad economics. The economic knowledge that we have is awefully inadequate and inept for solving any of the economic challenges. We need a deeper understanding of the economic phenomenon for identifying the required solutions.

    We cannot solve economic problems without making economics right. As a first towards this end, it is important to weed out all that is misleading. The garden metaphor used by these authors is a case in point. It must be thrown out of the window right away without any hesitation along with the market economics. I am giving below the reasons why we must do so.

    1) Economy is of people and not a garden with plants and trees, which may be allowed to die. Efficient management of the economy is a societal responsibility for securing the livelihood and promoting the quality of life of every one of its inhabitants.

    2) The real economic challenge is not in mending the economy but in ensuring its sustainability. There is no way to limit the demands on it. Population growth is a fact of life and the economy has to grow in step with it to generate adequate jobs, to produce enough food, to make available enough health care, to provide education and do all that in ways that are sustainable.

    3) The economy is not garden with unlimited resources or unrestricted access to resources. People who own land may just decide to leave it barren even if it is most suitable for growing food crops. People will not even get an opportunity to use their skills and talents productively unless someone else gives them a job. There is no guarantee that the jobs they get would put their skills and talents to the best possible use.

    4) There are only two gate passes into this economic garden. Either you get a job or have inherited property. The extent to which you can make use of what is grown in the garden is limited to what you earn. If you do not have the money, you will be left to die even if the garden produced excess food, which may be rotting.

    The market system is only one of the many organs of the economic system. The only useful contribution that the garden metaphor makes is in highlighting the organic nature of the economic system. The economic system is a lot more dynamically organic than a garden. Economy is more like a human body, which stays alive with the help multiple organs and subsystems. Nothing could be more more foolhardy than to believe that that we can stay healthy just by paying attention to just any one of these organs or systems.

    It is time we recognised the wrong foundations on which extant economics stands and which perpetuate the problems without any solutions. There is no way to save the world without getting the whole of economics re-written from the scratch based on a proper understanding of the economic phenomenon. If you would like to read more on this subject, please do read my article hyper linked below:

    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/10-must-do-things-reviving-economies-economics-jeyaseelan-m-a-j/