The Economy as an Open System: An Institutionalist Framework for Economic Development

  • Richard V. Adkisson


The main purpose of this chapter is to set the stage for the rest of this volume by describing the economic system in a way consistent with original institutionalist principles, principles that prescribe an open system view of economies. The chapter emphasizes the ways in which technology, nature, and culture transact with the economic process. From this view the terms sustainability and development take on broader meanings. Strict sustainability requires adherence not only to environmental criteria but also to technological and social criteria. Development implies that the socioeconomic system changes in the direction of improved adherence to social criteria broadly defined.


Natural Process Social Process Social Institution Economic Process Social Technology 


  1. Ayres CE (1962) The theory of economic progress: a study of the fundamentals of economic development and cultural change, 2nd edn. Shocken Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  2. Ayres CE (1978) The theory of economic process. New Issues Press, KalamazooGoogle Scholar
  3. Beinhocker ED (2006) The origin of wealth: evolution, complexity, and the radical remaking of economics. Harvard Business School Press, Boston, MAGoogle Scholar
  4. Berger S, Elsner W (2007) European contributions to evolutionary institutional economics: the cases of ‘cumulative circular causation’ (CCC) and ‘open systems approach’ (OSA): some methodological and policy implications. J Econ Issues 41:529–537Google Scholar
  5. Botkin DB, Keller EA (2003) Environmental science: earth as a living planet, 4th edn. Wiley, Hoboken, NJGoogle Scholar
  6. Bryant JW (1980) Flow models for assessing human activities. Eur J Oper Res 4:73–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bush PD (1987) The theory of institutional change. J Econ Issues 21:1075–1116Google Scholar
  8. Clark JOE (ed) (2004) The essential dictionary of science. Barnes & Noble Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  9. Colby ME (1989) The evolution of paradigms of environmental management in development. The World Bank Strategic Planning and Review Department, Strategic Planning and Review, Discussion Paper No. 1Google Scholar
  10. Daly HE (1993) Introduction to essays toward a steady-state economy. In: Daly HE, Townsend KN (eds) Valuing the Earth: economics, ecology, ethics. MIT Press, Cambridge 11–50Google Scholar
  11. Georgescu-Roegen N (1993) The entropy law and the economic problem. In: Daly HE, Townsend KN (eds) Valuing the Earth: economics, ecology, ethics. The MIT Press, Cambridge 75–88Google Scholar
  12. Hall ET (1989) Beyond culture. Anchor Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  13. Hayden FG (1988) Values, beliefs, and attitudes in a sociotechnical setting. J Econ Issues 22:415–426Google Scholar
  14. Hayden FG (2006) Policymaking for a good society: the social fabric matrix approach to policy analysis and program evaluation. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  15. Hodgson GM (2004) The evolution of institutional economics. Routledge, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hofstede G (1994) Business cultures: every organization has its symbols, rituals, and heroes. UNESCO Courier 12–16Google Scholar
  17. Kapp KW (1976) The open-system character of the economy and its implications. In: Dopfer K (ed) Economics in the future. Westview, Boulder, CO 10–105Google Scholar
  18. Marshall A (1890) Principles of Economics, 4th edn. McMillan, LondonGoogle Scholar
  19. McFerrin R, Adkisson RV (2005) Quantifying culture? Unpublished manuscript presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Institutional Thought. Albuquerque, NMGoogle Scholar
  20. McShaffrey D (2005) Environmental biology – ecosystems. Accessed 18 May 2005
  21. Mearman A (2006) Critical realism in economics and open-systems ontology: a critique. Rev Social Econ 64:47–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Moran EF (2000) Human adaptability: an introduction to ecological anthropology, 2nd edn. Westview, Boulder, COGoogle Scholar
  23. Neale WC (1988) Institutions. In: Tool MR (ed) Evolutionary Economics, vol I. M.E. Sharpe, New York 227–256Google Scholar
  24. Nearing S (1952) Economics for the power age. John Day Company, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  25. Petr JL (1984) Fundamentals of an institutionalist perspective on economic policy. J Econ Issues 18:1–17Google Scholar
  26. Sunkel O (1980) The interaction between styles of development and the environment of Latin America. CEPAL Rev 12:15–49Google Scholar
  27. Tool MR (1985) The discretionary economy: a normative theory of political economy. Westview, Boulder, COGoogle Scholar
  28. Zimmerman EW (1964) Introduction to world resources (edited by Henry L. Hunker). Harper and Row, New YorkGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard V. Adkisson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Economics and International BusinessNew Mexico State UniversityLas CrucesUSA

Personalised recommendations