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Money, Blood and Revolution: How Darwin and the doctor of King Charles I could turn economics into a science by George Cooper

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8. Borrowing From Mr Darwin

“It may be taken as the consensus…that economics is helplessly behind the times, and unable to handle its subject matter in a way to entitle it to standing as a modern science.”

Thorstein Veblen (Veblen, 1898)

In the middle of the 19th century, Charles Darwin borrowed a couple of ideas from two economists to help him unravel the problem of evolution. He took the idea of productivity improvements, arising through specialisation, from Adam Smith, and he got the idea of competition between individuals within a species from the insights of Thomas Malthus. Malthus had explained the bleak implications of our reproductive arithmetic and in so doing planted the seed of the idea of natural selection through competition. ...

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