Hi I'm john p birchall

Evolutionary Economics ... Dixieland Jazz ... there is an evolutionary explanation for everything ... ?

evolutionary economicsdixieland jazz

young darwinold darwinIn 1859 Charles Darwin explained how economics & jazz and everything else evolved ... including families, beer prices, factories, saxophones and the Boeing 747 ... an extravagant claim? ... yes ... but relentlessly, every day, the supporting evidence from empirical science mounts ... these pages hail one of the men who made the understanding of complexity possible ... a dwarf standing on the shoulders of an army of ancient ancestral giants can see a long way ... and what a view!

Once the genie was out of the bottle the search was on and all happenings become exciting opportunities for survival rather than fearsome problems.

Darwin GenieWe guess you may think that economics and jazz are a bit 'way out' ... are they really adaptations? ... here you will find a light hearted Darwinian look see.

Economics easily becomes embroiled in the analysis of a stream of outrageously arrogant political policies but the 'dismal science' must resist becoming locked into simpler mathematical models with unrealistic assumptions ... the result; bum predictions which don't work. Evolutionary Economics cuts the crap and assumes nothing but a simple copy / vary / select process where outcomes are unknowable and have to be discovered. Perhaps, as Darwin himself suggested, all human behaviour should be understood as evolutionary and Evolutionary Economics will lose its qualifier and come of age as 'Economics' ... the science of the quaint but convoluted behaviour of folk?  

The bottom line - good behaviour discovers synergies bad behaivour is a zero sum game.

Music is enjoyed everywhere and a few folk even have a go at jazz but it's not easy and most run of the mill teachers tend to ignore the early innovations in 'Dixieland' which evolved into a new species of music, 'Jazz' ... a quaint but convoluted folk music?

The bottom line - song & dance inspires smiles & fum of social interaction.

If you have any interest in these notions maybe some of the pages around here will be fun ... and maybe generate some useful insights ... all these notes have been discovered & accumulated over the years to help us with our own studies ... but remember ... it's all a bit of fun ... not about what is but just about what maybe?

DNAHow to understand Evolutionary Economics !      UK flag  


How to play Dixieland Jazz !      USA flag


How to study Family History !     England


... if only we'd had some of this stuff available when we started ...

but as the man said, 'if you think education is expensive, try ignorance' !

Evolution 101 starts with humbling ignorance -

Socrates - 'Admitting one's ignorance is the first step in acquiring knowledge … awareness of one’s ignorance is better than the illusion of knowledge'

Xenophanes - ‘The Gods did not reveal, from the beginning, all things to us, but in the course of time through seeking we may learn & know things better. But as for certain truth no man knows it, nor shall he know it, neither of the Gods nor yet of all things that I speak. For even if by chance he were to utter The Final Truth, he would himself not know it: for all is but a woven web of guesses.’


smileOccam's RazorPS nothing you will find on these pages was the result of 'intelligent design' as 'plausible, deliberate, rational, purposeful, intentional, planning' ... rather intelligent design itself was perhaps just the complex outcome of a simple process of Darwinian natural selection ... wot else could it be? ... supernatural selection?

The temptation is to view Evolutionary Economics as a ranting polemic but these pages are an expalnation of all happenings ... -

giraffes grew long necks simply because short necks died out !

Darwin's insight was anchored in the empirical tradition of British science ... it all started with observation ...

a double blind randomised control experiment in Scunthorpe which was repeated in the Antipodes 17½ nights later with the same peer reviewed results was meaningful evidence ... the rest was tittle tattle ...

... and it wasn't rocket science ... folk of all ages, shapes & sizes continually tried to discover 'new survival tricks' and some tricks survived & accumulated in populations of tricks by a round & roundabout process of - 




... as simple as 1, 2, 3 ... copy wot works - vary & experiment - survival differentially selects the synergies ...

... but the penny has to drop ... it was an awful stretcher ... many folk just didn't get it ...

... but if & whem folk did get it the implications were shattering ... shattering because Darwin's insight described evolutioary change & survival as a process of weeding out failures and not the intelligent design of 'good' works ... and there was more, weeding out failures by natural selection must be good news ... and exciting fun ... a positive sum story of progress 2+2=5, as 'know how' relentlessly grew thru learning & compound interest, even though as soon as there were stocks there were inevitable zero sum parasites & predators where 2-2=0 ... the maths of synergies was strange but enlightening.

Bottom Up Top DownNatural selection had no truck with the Bishops, Princes, Generals & Bureaucrats ... like prancers at a rain dance they arrogantly tried to hoodwink folk by claiming a privileged access to 'know how' ... 'uber alles' as the Deutsch would say ... a supernatural capacity to orchestrate events & legislate happiness through the command & control of the behaviour of other folk ... but we can still hear our Gran -

'meddlers, the lot of 'em, and they're up to no good'!

Natural selection is emphatically economic; 'as if' relentlessly cutting losses and chasing profits ... a creative destruction process. Natural selection has no foresight, so what are they all arguing about?

Stick with the knitting of Empirical Science and hard work, honesty & thrift ... 'top down' doing can only be understood as experimenting in the local environment  ... some experiments 'work' and are remembered ... but most fail

'there are many more ways of being dead than alive'?

... think about it?

Sooo forget 'moral outrage' and 'furrowed brows' ... and have some fun learning & experimenting -

'rather than being appalled by the fearsome problems of bad behaviour, we should be astounded & awed by the outstanding opportunities for good behaviour'

Richard DawkinsHard WorkHappenings were never luck we were privileged to have been born with the legacy of Charles Darwin (1809-82). Listen to Richard Dawkins on life, Darwin & everything -

'What really happens is that the gene pool becomes filled with genes that influence bodies in such a way that they behave 'as if' they made complex, unconscious, cost/benefit calculations for survival'.  Richard Dawkins -The Selfish Gene, 1976.

and Robert Axelrod on Evolutionary Economics -

‘The key to doing well lies not in overcoming others but in eliciting their cooperation. Individuals don’t have to be rational; the evolutionary process alone allows successful strategy to thrive, even if the players do not know why or how. No central authority is needed, cooperation is self policing’. The Evolution of Cooperation, 1984.

and Wynton Marsalis on Dixieland Jazz -

'There's no right or wrong ... just some choices that sound better than others. Try, there's no shame in failure, there's only shame in not remembering and repeating failures'. Jazz, 2000.

On Gilmore Hill around 1958 we learned how to learn ... not from the detail of fearsome textbooks but from the hard knocks of failed experiments and our mates ... and we also seized the exciting opportunity to learn from the persistence of a couple of local giants long dead -

Jimmie Watt who experimented in the basements on Gilmore Hill and learned about condensers on steam engines and  

Adam the Smith who wrestled with moral sentiments in the taverns of the Scottish Enlightenment - 

'In August 1838 Charles Darwin himself came to study Adam Smith ... his focus was on the individual embedded within populations as the central element of theory. The Scottish Enlightenment held a 'humanist' view of trying to understand the whole in terms of the interactions of individual parts ... nothing supernatural.
By July 1839 Darwin had an evolutionary view of everything around him: the planetary system in the universe, our own planet earth, its geology, its climate, its living organisms and their social organizations.
The mechanism of this evolutionary process was accounted for only by the invariable Laws of Physics and Chemistry and the principle of natural selection ... ' The Origin of Origin Revisited', Brandeis University 1977.

smile We admit we often felt much like a leper, shunned & ostracised as a mavarick freak indulging in 'thoughtcrime' ... ridiculous yes but perhaps not stoopid ... relentlessly, day by day the evolutionary evidence from Empirical Science mounted ... everything but everything we imagined was 'viewed' through the lens of evolution ... in the 'context' of natural selection ... and we have a wager in place with our great grandchildren's children!


@ these notes were discovered in imaginations and accumulated in notes at The Open University around the millennium,