226 DESROCHERS rules as those governing the systems in nature? The answer given by one of the characters is straightforward: “I’m convinced that economic life is ruled by processes and principles we didn’t invent and can’t transcend, whether we like that or not, and that the more we learn of these processes and the better we respect them, the better our economies will get along” (p. 11). Jacobs’ characters then discuss in the following chapters such processes as development, expansion, self-refueling, evading collapse, ﬁtness for survival and unpredictability. Devel- opment, whether in nature or in economies, is thus best viewed as an open-ended process by which differentiations emerge from generality, which then become other generalities from which further differentiations emerge. Such development depends, however, on numerous, various, and intricate co-development relationships. For example, tool making began with four existing generalities: sticks, stones, bones and ﬁre. Our ancestors then differentiated those found generalities into many things from hammers to scrapers and bags, innovations that required the fusion of other, originally unrelated, innovations. Expansion, whether natural or economic, then depends on capturing and using transient energy. The more different means a system possesses for recapturing, using, and passing around energy before
The Review of Austrian Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 8, 2004
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