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The Divergent Dynamics of Economic Growth: Studies in Adaptive Economizing, Technological Change, and Economic Development

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This book explains how changing technology and economizing behavior induce vast changes in productivity, resource allocation, labor utilization, and patterns of living. Economic growth is seen as a process by which businesses, regimes, countries, and the whole world pass through distinct epochs, each one emerging from its predecessor and creating the conditions for its successor. Viewed from a long-run perspective, growth must be characterized as an explosive process marked by turbulent transitions in social and political life as societies adapt to new opportunities, the demise of old ways of living, and the vast increase and redistribution of human populations. The book is based on a synthesis of classical economics and contemporary concepts of adaptation and economic evolution. Although it is grounded in analytical methods, the text has been stripped of all equations and with few exceptions is devoid of technical jargon.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'This new book by Richard Day is a very impressive compilation of research records, spanning a period of forty years or so, by him, his former students, and his research associates. The book shows how he has relentlessly explored economies far from equilibria, and to quote from one of his sentences by 'going against the prevailing disciplinary trends of over-reliance on the concept of equilibrium'. In the book, he emphasizes his conviction that economic optimizing and equilibrium analysis by themselves provide an inadequate mental image of the real world. I am in total agreement with him when he focuses on evolving markets, punctuate equilibria, and endogenously generated structural changes.' Masanao Aoki, UCLA

'This well-written book contains Richard Day's achievements in advancing a provocative and interesting point of view toward economics. He asserts that actual economies are never in economic equilibrium, because that implies perfect coordination. Rather, individuals follow habitual routines or attempt to improve their situation through changes based on limited understanding or even act experimentally. Their innovations can cause great harm as well as progress.' Truman Bewley, Yale University

'The nature of economic change is a mightily important issue that the great body of modern economics has not stressed. This very readable volume introduces 40 years of original work on the dynamics of economic growth by an exceptionally creative economist. Professor Day uses recursive models to synthesize classical, neoclassical, and evolutionary points of view and empirically tests his approach on economic sectors where change is rapid and also on epochal changes in social systems. A great oeuvre by an innovative scholar who is not afraid to think about things in the right way.' Thrainn Eggertsson, University of Iceland

'In this new work, Richard Day has capped a distinguished career of contributions to the study of adaptive economic systems. He has provided us with a creative synthesis of traditional microeconomics and the analysis of evolutionary economic change.' Vernon L. Smith, Nobel Laureate, George Mason University

'What Dick Day brings to the growth discussion is an extraordinary combination of breadth of vision and depth of analytical penetration. Readers will experience a sense of intellectual adventure fully appropriate to the grand topic of economic transformation and human progress.' Sidney Winter, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521830195
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 10/31/2003
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments and Comments
1 The Adaptive, Evolutionary Theory of Divergent Economic Growth 1
Pt. 1 Global Trends and Adaptive Economics
2 Global Trends, World Models, and Human Adaptation 21
3 Adaptive Economic Theory and Modeling 36
Pt. 2 Technological Change in Agriculture and Industry
4 The Economics of Technological Change and the Demise of the Sharecropper 59
5 Economic Development as an Adaptive Process: A Green Revolution Case Study 79
6 Industrial Development and Technological Change 97
7 An Adaptive Economizing Analysis of Chinese Enterprises Under Alternative Reform Regimes 115
Pt. 3 Epochal Development
8 Economic Development and Migration 141
9 Instability in the Transition from Manorialism: A Classical Analysis 158
10 Do Economies Diverge? Economic Development in the Very Long Run 178
Pt. 4 Toward a General Theory of Development
11 Economics Far from Equilibrium 203
12 The Dialectical Republic: Toward a General Theory of the Coevolution of Market and State 221
Index 237
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