Coping with the Complexity of Economics

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Marisa Faggini, Thomas Lux
Springer Science & Business Media, May 5, 2009 - Science - 170 pages
Throughout the history of economics, a variety of analytical tools have been borrowed from the so-called exact sciences. As Schoe?er (1955) puts it: “They have taken their mathematics and their ded- tive techniques from physics, their statistics from genetics and agr- omy, their systems of classi?cation from taxonomy and chemistry, their model-construction techniques from astronomy and mechanics, and their methods of analysis of the consequences of actions from en- neering”. The possibility of similarities of structure in mathematical models of economic and physical systems has been an important f- tor in the development of neoclassical theory. To treat the state of an economy as an equilibrium, analogous to the equilibrium of a mech- ical system has been a key concept in economics ever since it became a mathematically formalized science. Adopting a Newtonian paradigm neoclassical economics often is based on three fundamental concepts. Firstly, the representative agent who is a scale model of the whole society with extraordinary capacities, particularly concerning her - pability of information processing and computation. Of course, this is a problematic reduction as agents are both heterogeneous and bou- edly rational and limited in their cognitive capabilities. Secondly, it often con?ned itself to study systems in a state of equilibrium. But this concept is not adequate to describe and to support phenomena in perpetual motion.

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About the author (2009)

Thomas Lux is a member of the writing faculty & director of the MFA program in poetry at Sarah Lawrence College. A former Guggenheim fellow, he received the prestigious Kingsley Tufts Award for his most recent collection, "Split Horizon" (1994), which was also a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in poetry. His "New & Selected Poems: 1974-1995" was a finalist for the Poet's Prize & the Lenore Marshall/The Nation Award. "The Street of Clocks" is his eighth full-length collection.

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