In this lesson, the master of economics Maria Pia Paganelli describes how we can develop experimental evolution in society with the use of history, as Adam Smith proposes it.
First, Maria Paganelli explains how experimental evolution studies work and what usually are the elements of investigation such as birds, plants or fruits because it needs several generations to see the results. Then she exposes the two reasons why it is unethical to practice this kind of study on humans.
For economics, it would be useful to have a possibility to do experimental evolution because it will allow us to have endogenous explanations for changes in preferences, which right now we don’t. Economists assume that the preferences are given.”
She exposes the system Smith recommends that may be similar to experimental evolution: the study of history and its changes in society through the generations.
Paganelli says that according to Smith we should see all human beings as identical and assume everyone’s genes are the same to apply the experiment correctly.
This is so strong in Smith; not only all children are identical but also we have no blood relation, there is no blood affection. Your relation with your parents is not determined by your kin relation but by habituation, so you feel your relatives close to you because you grew up with them.”
After this, the professor gives some examples of wealthy and poor countries, and how this different environment can change the moral system of the population, like primogeniture, infanticide, abuses, and excesses.
Maria Paganelli concludes that even though we can’t run experiments like the biologists, we can make it by using history to understand humankind.
Master in Economics and professor
Nuestra misión es la enseñanza y difusión de los principios éticos, jurídicos y económicos de una sociedad de personas libres y responsables.
Universidad Francisco Marroquín