And how can wealth be increased for the benefit of individuals, businesses, and society? In The Origin of Wealth, Eric D. Beinhocker argues that modern science . In The Origin of Wealth, Eric D. Beinhocker argues that modern science provides a A landmark book that shatters conventional economic theory, The Origin of. A review of Eric Beinhocker’s book The Origin of Wealth. Exploring new economic models for evolutionary biology beyond Darwin’s use.

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How did this marvel of self-organized complexity evolve? How is wealth created within beinhockrr system? And how can wealth be increased for the benefit of weaalth, businesses, and society? Beinhocker argues that modern science provides a radical perspective on these age-old questions, with far-reaching implications. According to Beinhocker, wealth creation is the product of beinhockeg simple but profoundly powerful evolutionary formula: In this view, the economy is a “complex adaptive system” in which physical technologies, social technologies, and business designs continuously interact to create novel products, new ideas, and increasing wealth.

Taking readers on an entertaining journey through economic history, from the Stone Age to modern economy, Beinhocker weslth how “complexity economics” provides provocative insights on issues ranging from creating adaptive organizations to the evolutionary workings of stock markets to new perspectives on government policies.

A landmark book that shatters conventional economic theory, The Origin of Wealth will rewire our thinking about how we came to be here–and where we are going. Fortune magazine named him a Business Leader of the Next Century, and his writings on business and economics have appeared in a variety of publications, including the Financial Times.

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Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features: Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Read reviews that mention complexity economics traditional economics origin of wealth big man complex adaptive stock prices economic theory adam smith biological evolution real world adaptive systems computer simulations law of thermodynamics second law santa fe institute primary source initial conditions eric beinhocker man economy price fluctuations.

Showing of 41 reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. I can’t recall having ever read an author with the clarity of exposition and the depth and breadth of erudition that is demonstrated by Dr.

Beinhocker in this book. It is an impressive work. The opening sentence of the book asserts that “the field of economics is going through its most profound change in more than a hundred years.

He notes “the two fundamental questions that economists have grappled with throughout the history of their field: Adam Smith and his peers considered themselves philosophers, not scientists, and never attempted to reduce their ideas to mathematical expression. Roughly a century later Leon Walras wanted to change that, he wanted to make economics a science and to make quantitative economic predictions possible. So Walrus set about converting economic ideas into the language of mathematics.

He devised a set of equations that represented the equilibrium of cleared markets. Production–how the stuff in the markets was created–was just assumed to have happened, and omitted from the representation.

He made other simplifying assumptions. Schumpeter put entrepreneurship and technical change front and center as the primary source of productivity improvement and therefore wealth creation. He saw the economy as never in equilibrium, always in a state of dynamic change. Schumpeter’s ideas were valid and persuasive, but his failure to put them into mathematics held them back from getting the affirmation they deserved.


Most economists were still trying to describe economic phenomena in a mathematical language that was inadequate to the task, resulting in the need for simplifying but unrealistic assumptions.

The three that stood out was, first, that people were always economically rational in their behavior, second, that the economic system was in equilibrium, and third, that innovation–both technical and behavioral social change–were not considered part of the system considered to be exogenous variables. Robert Solow, a Harvard-trained professor at MIT, won the Nobel Prize by producing a model of a dynamic economy driven by technical change.

The result is often that the task is modified to fit the tool. It is often illustrated by the observation that when you give a small boy a hammer is just turns out that nearly everything needs bashing. The transistor was invented in the ‘s. This technological discovery made the digital computer possible, and by the latter part of the century had put an entirely new tool in the hands of analysts, largely removing much of the pressure to modify the task to fit the tool.

The computer is capable of simulating most phenomena, providing versatility to quantitative analysis heretofore not available using conventional mathematics.

Complex systems–systems in which the macro behavior emerges from the interaction of the fundament agents–could be simulated and therefore studied. The economy is a prime example of a complex, adaptive system in which the fundamental agents are people and institutions that through their behavior and interaction produce the macro behavior of the total system.

For the first time the goal of deriving macroeconomic behavior as an emergent property of microeconomic activity is in sight. Beinhocker discussed in depth the implications of these events, and provided substantially more color than this brief summary here. He discussed the properties of networks as they affect economic behavior, cognitive phenomena and the unreality of the rational man, and the dynamics of systems with feedback.

He illuminated many of the ideas and implications of the economy as a complex system by describing actual computer simulations of various types. He notes that “Complexity Economics is still more of a research program than a single, synthesized theory. He also mixes in a kind of running tutorial on the terminology and often very surprising properties of complex systems. The third part addressed how evolution creates wealth. It begins with a description and illustration of the generic evolutionary beinhockre itself, including a fairly detailed presentation of the story of our biological evolution.

He makes the point that the evolution of our economic system and creation of wealth are analogous processes. It seemed to me that while it is of some gee-whiz interest that the generalized patterns were the erix, the specific mechanisms were so different that the fact of algorithmic or schematic similarity added very little real understanding of the economic process itself.

He notes that economic evolution is driven by the coevolution of changes in physical technologies, social technologies–how people organize and set rules, origih business plans–how people behave to exploit the technical and social innovations. The rest of the book is devoted to the detailed description and analysis of these three elements.

It is very exhaustive, but at a high level of abstraction. For example, there is little or no discussion of the actual technological innovations in our history except that of making stone tools, which is included to make a point about the properties of invention.

He examines all these phenomena from many different angles which I will make no attempt to beihhocker. Beinhocker is a master of inductive reasoning, going from the detailed reality to abstract patterns.


His grasp of the consilience of the many dimensions of economic behavior is impressive, and the range of his interests and knowledge is downright astounding. I will admit that my reaction on my first reading of the initial chapters was negative: I thought he was painting a negative picture of past economic thinking with the intent of resurrecting it under new labels as new thinking. I was wrong, although I think much of old thinking has held up better than he seems to sometimes imply.

But this profound book leaves little doubt that digital-computer-enabled Complexity Economics has and will open the window of our understanding of the creation of wealth very much wider than it has ever been. Economics is an area much in need of new ideas. Here are origi bunch. Most books odigin “rethinking economics” are written by cranks and charlatans with an agenda or a product to sell. This is a shining exception. Economics is one of the fields grappling with new paradigms introduced by complexity theorists.

Origin of Wealth is an attempt erix the author, a McKinsey guy, to put this into a framework and draw lessons that organizations may apply today. As such, it enunciates theory as a basis for practical applications. This is a very well-written book, pitched just about right for the general reader with an interest in business and complexity theory. This is a very dynamic field which for the past 50 years or so has continued to grow and increase its utility.

Origin of Wealth is an honest and successful attempt to make these ideas available to those of us who can use them in our own enterprises. One of the best books I’ve ever read.

Beinhocker’s The Origin of Wealth | Jason Collins blog

For me, it brought a lot of disparate observations into focus and provided a plausable and nearly universal expanitory model; e. My only negative was the early denigration of the so-called “standard” approach to economics, whch I always considered to be an evolutionary process, just like in any scientific endeavor; i.

But if Eric Beinhocker could have another shot at it, he might call his manifesto, “The Origin of Everything” and subtitled it, “Including the Kitchen Sink”. He has a case, as few others have had, at claiming this heinhocker. His broad effort combines complexity theory and advanced adaptive systems with the latest thinking on biological and evolutionary science to give Beinhocker a business book for use beinhocekr only by the titan’s of industry but for anyone else who participates in our economy.

Meaning you don’t have to be studying computational economics or be enrolled in business school to read, understand, and learn from this book. Very few people, Henry David Thoreau and Ted Kosinskicome to mind, are not active in the evolutionary gene pool that is the global marketplace for the creation of wealth, and thus will not gain wealth from this book.

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And wealth, according to Beinhhocker is the creation of “Fit Order”. You will have to read the book to understand what he means by “Fit Order” but his type of wealth is not about dollars.

Don’t read his book to become rich, read his book to keep from becoming poor.

Even if you do not buy-in to his theory, you will get a first class treatment of economic systems, traditional economic theory, complexity, non-linear systems, game theory, advanced adaptive systems, networks, evolutionary theory with it’s fundamental aspects of emergence beknhocker selection, along with the necessary aspects of business strategy development, finance, and ultimately politics.

Toss in a little thermodynamics and stir. Does Beinhocker have it right?