John Stanley Metcalfe

Dancing in the Dark: Competition over the "Meaning of Competition"

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Competing concepts of competition provide a sharp divide between theories of economic order and theories of economic transformation. The shift from competition as a state of affairs and competition as a creative process provides the divergence of perspective that is the topic of this paper. We link the Smith Marshall approach of rivalry and open competition to the more modern evolutionary view based on variation cum selection perspectives on innovation and the adaptive role of market processes, contrasting this with the more conventional view of competitive equilbrium and the primacy of the number of competitors. The evolutionary viewpoint is closely connected to the process of knowledge generation and economic development, the theme of a restless capitalism. The paper ends with a brief development of some of the evolutionary tools that allow us to link economic order, economic variety and economic transformation.


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