[OPE-L:3048] Re: Okishio and mathematical Economics

Allin Cottrell (cottrell@wfu.edu)
Wed, 18 Sep 1996 09:22:40 -0700 (PDT)

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On Wed, 18 Sep 1996, Stephen Cullenberg wrote:

> Yes, I agree, that all Darwinian arguments assume heterogeneous
> populations, otherwise there wouldn't be anything to select. But, we must
> also be concerned with the "unit of selection". I argued that it is not
> self-evident that the in an economy with heterogeneous measures of profit,
> various time horizons, and so on, that there isn't any obvious unit of
> selection.

I'm not sure quite how this relates to the original point under
discussion, but couldn't one say that the unit of selection is the
"business strategy" -- a particular example of what Dawkins calls
"memes". That is, some strategies (including particular time-horizons
for calculation, particular preferred measures of profitability, etc)
tend to undergo expanded reproduction at the expense of others, in
the sense that the fraction of the total social capital under the
guidance of strategy X grows while the fraction under the control
of some alternative Y shrinks. But this may differ across
national capitalisms (to some degree) and may be in part
dependent on the nature of the financial system -- i.e., what
sort of capitalist behaviours and modes of calcualtion are
rewarded/punished by the suppliers of financial capital?

Allin Cottrell