Mark Buchanan at berfrois:
The upshot is that a subtle and mostly forgotten centuries-old choice in mathematical thinking has sent economics hurtling down a strange path. Only now are we beginning to learn how it might have been otherwise – and how a more realistic approach could help re-align economic orthodoxy with reality, to the benefit of all.
Of particular importance, the approach brings a new perspective to our understanding of cooperation and competition, and the conditions under which beneficial cooperative activity is possible. Standard thinking in economics finds limited scope for cooperation, as individual people or businesses seeking their own self-interest should cooperate only if, by working together, they can do better than by working alone. This is the case, for example, if the different parties have complementary skills or resources. In the absence of possibilities for beneficial exchange, it would make no sense for an agent with more resources to share or pool them together with an agent who has less.