Form vs. Substance in Selection Through Competition: Elections, Markets, and Political Economy
28 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2013
Date Written: January 24, 2013
Any competitive process selects among qualities possessed by the competitors, and with different processes selecting for different qualities. While the competitive form is universal, the substantive qualities that are selected depend on the particular environment within which competition occurs. With respect to athletic competition, for instance, diving selects for different qualities than swimming: a champion diver need not be a champion swimmer. Markets and politics are both forms of competitive endeavor, and it is reasonable to think that competition will select for excellence within each environment. This purely formal property of competition, however, generates different substantive qualities across environments, as we explore in this paper.
Keywords: formal vs. substantive rationality, selection of qualities, competitive selection, markets vs. elections, environmental rationality, ecological rationality, generative analysis, evolutionary political economy
JEL Classification: B52, D23, D83, L33, P26
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation