Competition as an evolutionary process

Mark Blaug and evolutionary economics


  • Jack J. Vromen EIPE, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands



evolutionary economics, institutions, competition, theory of the firm, realism, formalism, abstraction, theoretical modeling


Mark Blaug and I agree that if there is a realist interpretation of economic behavior to be discerned in Friedman (1953), it is to be found not in Friedman's belief that the profit motive overrides other possible motives, but in his belief that a selection mechanism is working in competitive markets. Our joint sympathy for evolutionary economics is largely based on a conviction that the conception of competition as a dynamic evolutionary process is rather plausible. We disagree, however, on two issues: first, how important the evolutionary conception was for Friedman's overall argument; and, second, whether we can learn something about the real world from rigorous formal analytical models. In this article, I explain and argue for my position on these two issues, and use Nelson and Winter's (1982) theory of evolutionary economics to support an illustrate my argument.

Author Biography

Jack J. Vromen, EIPE, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Jack J. Vromen is professor of theoretical philosophy, dean of the Faculty of Philosophy, and academic director of the Erasmus Institute for Philosophy and Economics (EIPE), at Erasmus University Rotterdam. His research interests are in the philosophy of economics, with an emphasis on conceptual and meta-theoretical aspects of the relation between evolutionary and economic theorizing.




How to Cite

Vromen, J. J. (2014). Competition as an evolutionary process: Mark Blaug and evolutionary economics. Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics, 6(3), 104–132.