Autonomous Agents and Economic Complexities: A Philosophical Excursion
Please cite the paper as:
Greg Hill, (2017), Autonomous Agents and Economic Complexities: A Philosophical Excursion, World Economics Association (WEA) Conferences, No. 2 2017, Economic Philosophy: Complexities in Economics, 2nd October to 7th December 2017
This paper develops a conception of autonomous agents who, lacking the ready-made and complete list of possible states afforded their DSGE counterparts, must envision their own ―state space.‖ Such agents can and must do more than perform constrained optimization exercises; they must also imagine, evaluate, and choose among alternative courses of action. Autonomous agents of this kind tend to hold diverse beliefs about the factors determining the economy‘s past performance, its present state, and the range of its possible trajectories. Insofar as these agents will oftentimes be interacting on the basis of inconsistent beliefs, it‘s reasonable to say that their interactions take place under conditions of general disequilibrium. In developing this alternative scheme of thought, I draw on some ideas from the complexity literature to explain why agents hold diverse views about the economy and to explore how their interactions might play out.