Darwinizem in libertarnost ne gresta skupaj

George Cooper (nekoč Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, J.P. Morgan and BlueCrest Capital Management, danes pa City) je pred leti napisal izvrstno knjigo o finančni krizi “ The Origin of Financial Crises“, lani pa je objavil novo knjigo “Money, Blood, and Revolution: How Darwin and the Doctor of King Charles I Could Turn Economics Into A Science“. No, v tej knjigi s pomočjo darwinistične evolucijske paradigme secira ekonomske teorije. Spodaj je kratek izsek iz zapisa, kjer Cooper nazorno dokazuje, zakaj libertarna ekonomska paradigma (individualizem, popolnoma prosti trg in majhna država), na kateri gradi neoklasična ekonomija (individualizem, maksimizacija, ravnotežje), ni v skladu z darvinistično evolucijsko paradigmo. Dokazuje, da če zamenjamo le en aksiom neoklasike, maksimizacijo s konkurenčnim obnašanjem, se zaradi kompleksnosti poruši celotna stavba neoklasične teorije.

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The issues that Darwinian competition throws up for the Neoclassical and Marxist schools of economics are interesting but what it implies for the Libertarian school is positively fascinating. The Libertarian paradigm is one in which the ideal economy will arise out of a social system as close to a natural one as possible. To the Libertarians, a world of minimal government interference – with little or no taxation or regulation – is optimal. In this world everyone is free to get on with their own life, free to do the best they can.

It is a lovely story; I certainly found the idea initially appealing. Unfortunately, there is the nagging problem of the experimental data, which somehow just does not chime with the Libertarian ideal. Afghanistan and Somalia have got little in the way of government and regulation but they are hardly the utopian power houses of economic progress described by Libertarianism. I shall be brave here and boldly state that there is not one example of a successful society run along Libertarian principles on earth today. What’s more, I can confidently state that there never has been and never will be such a society. The reason for this is the darker side of our Darwinian nature.

The neoclassical economists often talk of their models as representing competitive processes and often argue that their theories are built in accordance with the natural competitive forces recognised by Charles Darwin. But when they come to actually do the mathematics, they do not model competition; they model maximisation. There is a very good reason for modelling the economy using the assumption of maximisation rather than competition. Modelling maximising behaviour is trivial, modelling competitive behaviour is fiendishly difficult.

Hopefully the point is clear. Modelling a system in which each of the components are engaged in maximising behaviour is relatively simple, modelling a system in which each of the components is engaged in competitive behaviour is very difficult, and at the level of the economy it is effectively impossible. In a competitive system, the actions of each individual component are dependent on those of all the others. Not only is more data required, but spontaneous complicated group behaviour, feedback effects and herding all become real possibilities.

So we have a problem with the Neoclassical school of economics that is quite fundamental. The problem lies not with the details of its models but with its core axioms. If we humans really behave as competitors rather than optimisers, all three of the axioms of mainstream economics are simply wrong. Recall that when Copernicus changed only one of the two axioms of Ptolemaic astronomy he ended up changing the whole of the science of astronomy. If we adopt a Darwinian competitive paradigm we have to change all three of the axioms of economics at once.

Making this intellectual shift threatens the school of Neoclaissical economics. It also threatens the naïve Libertarianism of economies that operate free from institutional supports (regulation and taxation consistent with human social behavior)—all because of a basic confusion about the difference between competition and maximization.

Vir: George Cooper, Evonomics

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