Icons of Repute: The Attribution of Lamarckian and Darwinian Evolutionary Mechanisms in Economics

Victoria University, Centre for Accounting, Governance and Taxation Research Working Paper No. 43

23 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2008

See all articles by Rachel F. Baskerville

Rachel F. Baskerville

Victoria University of Wellington - School of Accounting and Commercial Law

Date Written: 2007

Abstract

Paul David's 1986 exposition on the QWERTY keyboard configuration gave rise not only to Stan Leibowitz and Stephen Margolis's "Fable of the Keys", but also to a consideration by Stephen J. Gould of the characteristics, and correct attribution, of Lamarckian versus Darwinian mechanisms of evolutionary change. This study draws attention to the following issues from this debate: is it correct to attribute the operation of forces of change in evolutionary economics as being Darwinian in nature? How did evolutionary dynamics in economics come to be described utilising concepts and nomenclature typical of organic or biological evolution? It is suggested that it was the extension of Veblen's advocacy of Darwinism as a "scientific methodology" which led to the adoption of Darwinism as an icon of evolutionary mechanisms, and gave rise to the invocation of Darwinian evolutionary mechanisms in economic theories. The basis for such invocation is re-examined and it is suggested the Lamarckian theory provides the more appropriate mechanism for evolutionary success or fitness in economic studies.

Keywords: Paul David, Fable of the Keys, Margolis, Leibowitz, Stephen J. Gould, Qwerty, evolutionary economics

JEL Classification: B25, E11, M50

Suggested Citation

Baskerville, Rachel F., Icons of Repute: The Attribution of Lamarckian and Darwinian Evolutionary Mechanisms in Economics (2007). Victoria University, Centre for Accounting, Governance and Taxation Research Working Paper No. 43, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1220863 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1220863

Rachel F. Baskerville (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington - School of Accounting and Commercial Law ( email )

Faculty of Commerce and Administration
PO Box 600
Wellington
New Zealand
006444636951 (Phone)
006444635076 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.victoria.ac.nz/sacl/staff/rachel-baskerville.aspx

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