2003

J. Alfonso Gil, Man, Institutions and Bioeconomics

Javier Alfonso Gil

Man, Institutions and Bioeconomics

ABSTRACT

Because bioeconomics is born of the interaction between the biological activity system and its socio-economic activity system, a holistic methodological approach is essential to study the relations between them. However, it must search for increasing levels of reductionism within each discipline to delve into the ultimate nature of each one of the intervening forces, whether economic or biological. This paper explores the economic forces.Through the biological capacity to comprehend, man and by extension, society, accumulates knowledge, the fulcrum from which he is able to dominate over his natural

habitat. From this ‘point d’appui’, man builds two basic tools to assist him in achieving the goal of bettering his social condition. On the one hand, he creates institutions that allow him to “live with others” and, on the other, he develops technology that helps him to “live
better with others”. Institutions, also referred to as ‘social technology’, tend toward stability over time while technology or ‘material technology’, tends toward instability, which would suggest that, normally, the mechanics of change will originate in material technology and, from there, progress to social technology by way of the political market.

The level of progress and development attained depends on the quantity and rate of growth of knowledge applied by a society. In the process, man and his collectivity are forced to adopt new views of their environment through new shared mental models. The concurrence of equipment and political market will ultimately become the prime mover of institutional and economic change as well as change in mentality. Both technologies must keep on an adaptive course of stable evolution since discrepancies arising between them can cause tension between the various social groups. Adequate management of technological shock is essential to avoid extreme situations of social conflict. Herein lie the most important political decisions that a government must confront over the long term.

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