chapter  10
14 Pages

Markets and Antimarkets in the World Economy

It should come as no surprise that the current penetration of science by history has been the result of advances in these two disciplines. Ilya Prigogine revolutionized thermodynamics in the 1960s by showing that the classical results were only valid for closed systems where the overall amounts

of energy are always conserved. If one allows energy to f10w in and out of a system, the number and type of possible historical outcomes greatly increases. Instead of a unique and simple equilibrium, we now have multiple ones of varying complexity (static, periodic, and chaotic atractors); and moreover, when a system switches from one to another form of stability (at a so-called bifurcation), minor f1uctuations can be crucial in deciding the actual form of the outcome. When we study a given physical system, we need to know the specific nature of the f1uctuations that have been present at each of its bifurcations. In other words, we need to know its exact history to understand its current dynamical form (Prigogine and Stengers, 1984: 169).