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InvestingThe Last Liberal Art, Second Edition$
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Robert Hagstrom

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231160100

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231160100.001.0001

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(p.26) 3 Biology

Robert G. Hagstrom

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines the stock market and the economy from a biological perspective. In turning to biology for insight into finance and investing, it considers one core idea from the field of biology: evolution. Whereas in nature the process of evolution is one of natural selection, seeing the market within an evolutionary framework allows us to observe the law of economic selection. The evolutionary principle is firmly associated with Charles Darwin, whose investigation of species variation led to his publication of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life in 1859. This chapter considers how the concept of evolutionary change attracted the attention of economists such as Alfred Marshall, Joseph Schumpeter, Thomas Kuhn, and Brian Arthur. It also discusses the idea of biological economics and suggests that studying economic and financial systems is very similar to studying biological systems.

Keywords:   stock market, biology, finance, investing, evolution, natural selection, law of economic selection, Charles Darwin, species variation, biological economics

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