The unexplored influences of modern physics on John R. Commons’ economic theory

Vol. 41 No. 2 (2021)

Apr-Jun / 2021
Published March 30, 2021
PDF-English
PDF-English

How to Cite

Guedes, Sebastião Neto Ribeiro, and Rodrigo Constantino Jerônimo. 2021. “The Unexplored Influences of Modern Physics on John R. Commons’ Economic Theory”. Brazilian Journal of Political Economy 41 (2), 333-50. https://doi.org/10.1590/0101-31572021-3170.

The unexplored influences of modern physics on John R. Commons’ economic theory

Sebastião Neto Ribeiro Guedes
The author is associate professor of economics, São Paulo State University (UNESP) – São Paulo/SP, Brazil.
Rodrigo Constantino Jerônimo
The author is graduate student (doctorat) of economics, São Paulo State University (UNESP), São Paulo/SP, Brazil.
Brazilian Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 41 No. 2 (2021), Apr-Jun / 2021, Pages 333-350

Abstract

Previous works of John R. Commons’ interpreters have emphasized the influence of numerous theoretical-methodological references (e.g., pragmatism, evolutionism, etc.) in shaping his economic thought. However, almost no mention is made of the influence of particle and relativity physics, which, as we debate, provide sources of insights to his work. This paper explores these connections by showing that John R. Commons was not only interested in the advances of that science but was also inspired by them to produce parallels and analogies that allowed his theory to escape the pitfalls of individualism and determinism while incorporating time and space in an innovative way in the economic discourse.

JEL Classification: B15; B25; B31


Keywords: Institutional economics, modern physics, John R. Commons economic theory