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Like Harrison Searles, we’re confident that modern evolutionary science provides a useful toolkit for economics and public policy. Some progress has been made advancing a new paradigm. Searles rightfully calls attention to the pioneering work of Friedrich Hayek. We are in a much better position to approach these topics now than during Hayek’s time. We think that modern multilevel selection theory and complexity theory lead to conclusions different than those that Searles and others draw from Hayek’s work. But we suggest dropping terms such as “evolutionary left” as a first step toward acknowledging that new paradigms cannot be shoehorned into old ideological categories. In our view, the new evolutionary paradigms promise to transcend the old ideological categories.
This article is a response to The Welfare State and Moral Sentiments: A Smith-Hayek Critique of the Evolutionary Left by Harrison Searles (EJW, May 2015).