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Rethinking Macroeconomics Based on Complexity Theory

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Titel Rethinking Macroeconomics Based on Complexity Theory
Serientitel Latsis Symposium 2012
Autor Helbing, Dirk
Lizenz CC-Namensnennung - keine kommerzielle Nutzung - keine Bearbeitung 2.5 Schweiz:
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DOI 10.5446/35579
Herausgeber Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zürich
Erscheinungsjahr 2012
Sprache Englisch

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Fachgebiet Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaft
Abstract We argue that, if we are to find a more satisfactory approach to tackling the major socio-economic problems with which we are faced, we may need to thoroughly rethink the basic assumptions of macroeconomic and financial theory. Making minor modifications to the standard models to remove “imperfections” may not be enough, the whole framework may need to be reconstructed. Let us first enumerate some of the standard assumptions and postulates of economic theory: The first of these is the idea that an economy is an equilibrium system. In other words it is a system in which all markets systematically clear at each point of time but where the equilibrium may be perturbed, from time to time by exogenous shocks. The second is that the selfish or greedy behaviour of individuals yields a result which is beneficial to society, a modern and inadequate restatement of Adam Smith’s description of “the invisible hand”. Thirdly, Individuals and companies decide rationally. By this is meant that individuals optimize under the constraints with which they are faced and that their choices satisfy some standard axioms of consistency. Fourthly, the behaviour of the all agents together can be treated as corresponding to that of the average or representative individual. Fifthly when the financial sector is analysed it is assumed that financial markets are efficient. Efficiency here meaning that all the relevant information about the price of an asset is reflected by the price of that asset. Thus no individual has any incentive to seek information for himself. Sixthly in financial markets it is assumed that the more liquid they are the better they function. Lastly in financial markets the more connected the network of links between individuals and institutions the more risk is spread and the more stable and robust the system. We will show computer simulations or analyses of other social systems that question assumptions such as the above, but also give a perspective of how a new theoretical approach may be developed that is in better agreement with real-world evidence.

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