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A remembrance of times past

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This paper begins with a brief review of Metcalfe's evolutionary economics as presented in the Graz Schumpeter Lectures and then moves onto Piaget's notion of and extension into what could be called cognitive phenocopy. Here, the main elements of Piaget's theories are introduced and related where possible to adaptive learning in business units. The notion of constructive evolution is then developed with a view to explaining, by analogy, how differential behaviours might explain differences in the performance of business units. The final section draws upon a few selected quotations from Metcalfe's Graz Schumpeter Lectures, in an attempt to show just how close Metcalfe's approach is to Piaget's, bar the step that the latter takes in linking changes in routines and cognitive development. In the conclusion it is argued that both approaches support the view that behaviour, whether in economics or behavioural psychology more generally, is the motor of evolution.
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Keywords: Metcalfe; Piaget; cognitive phenocopy; constructive evolution

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Science Policy research Unit, University of Sussex, Wilmslow, Cheshire, UK

Publication date: October 1, 2013

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