Richard E. Wagner on entangled political economy, degeneracy and robustness

Below are some words from Richard E. Wagner’s article ‘Retrogressive regime drift within a theory of emergent order’ published in the Review of Austrian Economics in 2006 (Rev Austrian Econ (2006) 19: 113–123). This is the earliest – indeed, the only! – work I have found on the link between degeneracy and robustness in political economic systems. The paper is very good, but even so, what is reproduced below is all there seems to be on this important topic – about 500 words – in the entire literature. Suffice to say, much more work is needed on this interesting topic.

In a nutshell, Wagner’s hypothesis is:

[…] robustness is facilitated through polycentric organizational arrangements that entail high degeneracy, while fragility and the emergence of decadence is facilitated in relatively hierarchical arrangements that possess low degeneracy.

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