What Milton Friedman Got Wrong: Biologists Destroy Homo-Economicus

David Sloan Wilson in Evonomics:

ScreenHunter_1972 May. 26 11.42One of the most influential articles published in the field of economics is Milton Friedman’s (1953) “The Methodology of Positive Economics”, in which he argues that people behave as if the assumptions of neoclassical economic theory are correct, even when they are not. One of the most influential articles in the field of evolution is Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin’s (1979) “The Spandrels of San Marcos and the Panglossian Paradigm”, which argues against excessive reliance on the concept of adaptation.

Different disciplines, different decades. No wonder these two classic articles have not been related to each other. Yet, there is much to be gained by doing so, for one reveals weaknesses in the other that are highly relevant to current economic and evolutionary thought.

The reason they can be related to each other is because Friedman relied upon an evolutionary argument for his “as if” justification of neoclassical economics.

More here.