Thursday, February 12, 2009

In Honor Of The Day

Today is the bicentennial of Darwin's birth.

I think of evolutionary economics as equivalent to (old) institutional economics.

Clarence Ayres was one prominent institutionalist economist, maybe the most prominent of his generation. He ended up at the University of Texas at Austin and helped develop the Texas school of institutional economics. (James Galbraith is currently at UT.) Ayres most well known book is probably The Theory of Economic Progress, which I have not read. I have read The Divine Right of Capital, in which I found some echoes of Joan Robinson's capital critique, even though it precedes the relevant portions of her work.

But I want to point out that Ayres also wrote Huxley, a 1932 biography of Thomas Huxley, also known as "Darwin's bulldog". In 1860 Huxley debated Bishop Samuel Wilberforce:
"Turning to Huxley he inquired with a charming show of solicitude whether the scientist supposed himself to be descended from an ape on the side of his grandmother or his grandfather... And then [Huxley] delivered his famous counterstroke, the upshot of which is that ancestor apes are preferable to bishops."

1 comment:

YouNotSneaky! said...

It's also Abe Lincoln's birthday. Not sure about this evolutionary economists = old institutionalists.