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The Prestigious Darwin Club for Social Science Elected Oliver Kovacs Among Its Members

The Darwin Club is an unbiased and independent non-profit research and educational association for leading social scientists and other scientists blessed with the vein of interdisciplinarity, whose primary goal is to promote the application of Darwinian ideas and other related principles in the social sciences, including economics, political science, sociology, law, organizational theory, as well as management and business studies. The Club deals with scientific research and, by studying the evolutionary interactions in the real socio-economic system, it strives to formulate valuable policy proposals.

The Club therefore wants to be an intellectual stimulus for evolutionary research in social sciences. As in biology, the subject of evolutionary research can be not only a single entity, such as an organization, but also the evolution of populations of diverse entities, such as competing business firms. As a result, the Club perceives the socio-economic ecosystem as a complex adaptive system, similar to living systems. The transfer and application of Darwinian ideas highlights that the creation and flow of information, knowledge, and its application through social learning play a huge role in evolution, as well as in human societies and organizations (e.g., in connection with the creation and diffusion of innovative ideas, marketed innovations, a critical mass of which initiates the reprogramming and qualitative structural change of the entire socio-economic system over time). In doing so, Darwin’s three principles, i.e., variation, selection and replication/reproduction, offer a more effective system of analytical criteria and thereby open the way to come up with better scientific questions during theoretical and empirical research alike.

The president of the Club is Geoffrey M. Hodgson, who, in addition to being an emeritus professor at London’s Loughborough University, has been trying for many decades to contribute to the renewal of mainstream economics through the historical and evolutionary study of the rules of the game (institutions) of social interactions, whereby to contribute to the foundation of possible next steps, to accept and embrace Darwinian ideas. Hodgson, by the way, has been the editor-in-chief of the well-known Journal of Institutional Economics which has been considered as a Q1 journal since 2012 without interruptions.

In the Club, which currently has 35 members, we can welcome experts such as, for example, John Gowdy, who expanded the current of ecological and evolutionary economics with novel approaches and is therefore the winner of the Herman Daly Prize, who is an economics professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, one of the oldest private research universities in the United States. Among the members is Viktor J. Vanberg, who is also considered to be the founder of the school, and who, as an unavoidable representative of the renowned Walter Eucken Institute, is one of the prominent popularizers of the socio-economic systems approach (Ordnungstheorie). We can also mention Sylvie Geisendorf, professor at the ESCP business school in Berlin, which is more than two hundred years old, and is a recognized researcher of sustainability; but there is also the professor of the University of Siena, Ugo Pagano, who, through his diverse work (political economy, bioeconomics, welfare economics, etc.), has always wanted to be and remain a resonator of the economic mainstream that moves away from the analysis of reality.

The Club offers a fertile ground for serious scientific discussions and knowledge exchange, often in a form of webinars. For example, Joel Mokyr, a recognized expert on industrial revolutions, who examined the rise of the European continent in the framework of cultural evolution, and a professor of economic history of American-Israeli origin at Northwestern University, or Robin Dunbar, a member also, did present their views to the wider public.

Of course, the works of several mentioned and unnoted members did influence (and have been affecting) my research attitude and thinking. This is more or less reflected in my peer-reviewed studies published in Hungarian and foreign journals (e.g.: more holistic interpretation of the crisis, the nature of gazelle companies, etc.), as well as my monographs. In this respect, my first book emphasized the inevitable role of the evolutionary structural change of the prevailing technological-economic paradigm when interpreting budget adjustments with a puzzling growth effect; while my second volume, published by Routledge in 2022, set the foundation for a kind of complexity-aware economic thinking. Since prevailing mainstream economics is already distant from reality and is therefore in need of correction, the book proposes a narrative that tries to manage complexity and calculates with a far-from-equilibrium socio-economic innovation ecosystem and with the role of mission-oriented economic governance highlighted in addressing various mega-challenges (e.g.: Industry 4.0 required inclusive development, energy efficiency, etc.). My third forthcoming monograph, which will soon be published by Ludovika Publishing Budapest, will draw attention to the pivotal role of the public sector in rehabilitating general innovation dynamics by counterbalancing the system-distorting evolution of the financial universe, which has expanded at the expense of the real economy, which has resulted in overloaded modern states.

Although the Darwin Club acts in silence, I do hope that it might serve as a trailblazer whereby its results will cause noise.