Emergence and Entanglement in a Theory of Political Economy

37 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2019

See all articles by Richard E. Wagner

Richard E. Wagner

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Date Written: February 8, 2019


Political economy is a field of study where theorists typically treat polities and markets as separate orders of activity within society. Moreover, the standard mode of analysis treats those entities as existing in states of equilibrium. To the contrary, this essay treats polities and markets as entangled and, moreover, as entities that have ecological and emergent character. Among other things, this shift in analytical focus means that turbulence and not stability is a key analytical feature to be incorporated into a theory of political economy. It also means that any human population system is open and not closed, which means in turn that the future is imaginable but not genuinely knowable, for it will be generated through complex interaction within an arena that entails both trade and conflict. In other words, the analytical framework set forth here is antithetical to the DSGE (Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium) that is highly popular among economists today.

Keywords: entangled political economy; emergence vs. axiomatics; action level vs. systems level; parasitical politics; autonomy of the political; non-logical action; indeterminism and creativity

JEL Classification: D72, D78, E62, H61, P16

Suggested Citation

Wagner, Richard E., Emergence and Entanglement in a Theory of Political Economy (February 8, 2019). GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 19-01. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3331195 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3331195

Richard E. Wagner (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
334 Enterprise Hall
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
(703) 993-1132 (Phone)

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