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A relational model of economic organization: relations within, between and among economic scales


Rutherford, G and Kirkpatrick, J and Davison, A, A relational model of economic organization: relations within, between and among economic scales, Journal of Economic Issues pp. 1-31. ISSN 0021-3624 (In Press) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2021 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. This article has been accepted for publication in [JOURNAL TITLE], published by Taylor & Francis.


We propose a relational theoretical model of economic organization that offers new insight into the organizing dynamics of economic systems. Neoclassical and complexity economics are, in their Western cultural origins, based on an assumption of the primacy of the discrete individual. Collectivist economic traditions are based on the principle of collective interest rather than self-interest. We attempt a rapprochement of individualist (especially free market) and collectivist (especially centrally planned) economic cultures and traditions by modelling economic organization as arising from individual and collective dynamics and the relationships between them. Structure, process, function, and content are four fundamental inter-related properties of our model of economic organisation. Matter, energy, and information flow into and out of this system as well as between its components. We posit the existence of micro- meso- macro- scales of economic organization in all of structure, process, function, and contents. To operationalize our relational model, the conventional bottom-up process of self-organization is reconceived to involve relationships within micro, meso and macro-economic organization. In turn, to operationalize the model, the new concept of socio-cultural organization is construed to involve relationships between and among economic organization, across micro, meso and macro scales. Our model of relations provides a structure for complex-realist exploration, making cross-scale inter-relationships explicit and by providing a structured language for description of these relationships.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:complexity theory economic theory
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Human geography
Research Field:Economic geography
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Other environmental policy, climate change and natural hazards
Objective Field:Other environmental policy, climate change and natural hazards not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Rutherford, G (Mr Glen Rutherford)
UTAS Author:Kirkpatrick, J (Professor James Kirkpatrick)
UTAS Author:Davison, A (Associate Professor Aidan Davison)
ID Code:147921
Year Published:In Press
Deposited By:Geography and Spatial Science
Deposited On:2021-11-24
Last Modified:2021-12-23
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