Complexity, habits and evolution
This article addresses what are often described as ‘complex adaptive systems.’ Typically such systems involve populations of entities that store and replicate information. But these micro aspects are less fully explored in most accounts, which concentrate on macro-outcomes of complex adaptive systems, particularly self-organisation and emergent properties. These omissions are addressed here, with a stress on the roles of individual habits and organisational routines. It is argued that such considerations open up the possibility of a meta-theoretical evolutionary framework for understanding complex adaptive systems. This essay also makes use of some insights from evolutionary and institutional economics and contrasts its approach with some standard assumptions in mainstream economics.