Dr Pangloss and the best of all possible markets : evolutionary fantasies and justifications in contemporary economic discourse
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The paper examines evolutionary myth-making in the economic discourse of contemporary neo-liberalism. It traces the translation of evolutionary concepts from the early twentieth century Darwinist synthesis to recent economic popularising, offering a close reading of Harford’s ‘Adapt’ (2011). Important points of passage in the development of ideas include the work of Dawkins, who moves from gene to ‘meme’ and Dennett, who insists on evolution as an algorithmic process. The paper argues that evolutionary myth-making carries a normative element, taking into economic discourse an ‘adaptionist’ position criticised in biology as Panglossian. It concludes with the suggestion that adaptionist arguments, if followed through, offer a powerful critique of neo-liberal ideals.
Roscoe , P J 2014 , Dr Pangloss and the best of all possible markets : evolutionary fantasies and justifications in contemporary economic discourse . in Myth and the Market . University College Dublin Business School , Dublin , pp. 96-111 , Myth and the Market , Carlingford, Ireland , United Kingdom , 19-21 June .conference
Myth and the Market
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