Biology & Economics

My academic work on biology and economics

Economics is a Lost Field

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Economists are divided on both fiscal and monetary policy, the most important economic issues of the day. The divide is on the direction of policy, not on some detail. A field cannot be more lost than to be clueless on its most important issues. This is the equivalent of Lewis and Clark disagreeing on whether they are going to the Mississippi or the Pacific. When you don’t know east from west, you are lost.... Click Here to read full article: 

Biology will (eventually) change economics 

Legend says that Thomas Henry Huxley gave a talk on evolution. After the talk, an audience member corrected Huxley with a different view of the world. (This phrasing comes from Stephen Hawking who attributes it to a lecture by Betrand Russell.)

At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: "What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise." The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, "What is the tortoise standing on?" "You're very clever, young man, very clever," said the old lady. "But it's tortoises all the way down!

Economic theory rests on theories of human nature that are controversial. Currently, there is no foudation to economics, so it sits upon an unstable foundation of turtles all the way down.

The current state of economics -- turtles all the way down

Charles Darwin to provide a foundation for Economics
Human beings arose through a process of evolution by natural selection and this fact is important to economics. Most economists agree with the first statement. This thesis argues for the second -- that insights from the field of genetiec evolution can significantly improve economics; specifically, by refining its core set of assumptions about human nature. 

This is the opening paragraph of my 1997 doctoral thesis (click here for first part of my thesis). My academic research has concentrated on exactly this idea -- improving the foundation of economics using natural sciences. 

In my thesis, I argue that biology will change economics, "The promise of genetic evolutionary economics is a better understanding of human nature and, consequently, a more accurate and comprehensive economics science."

The future of economics -- grounded in evolutionary biology 


  1. Assuming we have a solid understanding of evolutionary biology. Still tortoise all the way down unless you hang onto a fractal universe. "Deep Though" was off - should have responded 5,3 which would have been the simplest expression of our universe.

  2. Dear KenToo,

    Thank you for your comment (my apologies for such a belated reply). Are you saying that we understand evolution by natural selection, but below that level are unresolved questions in physics. That is interesting.

    Thank you,