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Veblen's Evolutionary Methodology and Its Implications for Heterodox Economics in the Calculable Future

Jo, Tae-Hee (2019): Veblen's Evolutionary Methodology and Its Implications for Heterodox Economics in the Calculable Future.

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Abstract

Critics have repeatedly claimed that heterodox economics has failed in that it has limited acceptance by the mainstream of the economics profession and little influence on other approaches and policies. They blame heterodox economists for their own failure. I subject this claim to critical examination from the perspective of Veblen’s evolutionary methodology. Veblen’s theory of the business enterprise will be used as an example, which exemplifies the case that a ‘blasphemous’ theory is ignored and marginalized even though it provides rich insights into economy and society. Heterodox economics has shown a similar path. It is also argued that social science does not follow the biological principle of natural selection. What survives does not necessarily mean the fittest in the social realm. The history of science is replete with paradoxical incidents that an incoherent, irrelevant, or even wrong theory becomes dominant and widely accepted because it is one that serves the vested interests in academia and society. Economics is no exception.

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