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Conceptualizing CapitalismInstitutions, Evolution, Future$
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Geoffrey M. Hodgson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226168005

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226168142.001.0001

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How Does Capitalism Evolve?

How Does Capitalism Evolve?

(p.315) Chapter Thirteen How Does Capitalism Evolve?
Conceptualizing Capitalism

Geoffrey M. Hodgson

University of Chicago Press

It is noted that “evolution” is a very vague and ambiguous word. Rather than trying to give it a specific meaning, it is better to consider the types of phenomena under investigation. The notion that capitalism goes through pre-ordained stages of development is downplayed. Instead it is argued that the global evolution of capitalism should be addressed largely through the identification of changing hegemonic types and powers. It is argued that global capitalism involves populations of states, organizations within states, and human individuals, each of which is subject to processes of variation, replication and selection. Following earlier work on generalized Darwinian principles and their application to socio-economic evolution (Hodgson and Knudsen 2010), it is argued that institutional and technological diffusions are major mechanisms of replication in modern capitalist systems. The survival of varieties of capitalism and the possibility of increasing complexity are also considered.

Keywords:   capitalism, evolution, generalized Darwinism, diffusion, variation, selection, hegemonic economies, globalization and convergence, varieties of capitalism, increasing complexity

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