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Evolutionary economics

By viewing economics as a cousin of biology, it is easier to see how small causes can have big effects and to grasp the limits of human knowledge

By Bob Rowthorn   June 2005

Why Most Things Fail by Paul Ormerod (Faber, £12.99)

In a series of books written over the past decade, Paul Ormerod has criticised orthodox economics for being too mechanistic and divorced from reality and has argued the case for a new approach. As one might expect from a successful business consultant, these books have eye-catching titles—The Death of Economics, Butterfly Economics and now Why Most Things Fail. Their unifying theme is that economics is in thrall to a 19th-century model based on physics when it should really be looking to biology for inspiration. This would make economics focus on what…

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