Environmental Philosophy

Volume 8, Issue 1, Spring 2011

Horacio Velasco
Pages 63-82

Nurturing Life
From Economic Dynamics to Economic Semiotics

It is argued that if mainstream neoclassical economics is to be compatible with the health of both the social and natural environments, then it must dispense with a purely micro-level, individual treatment of the world through market dynamics and instead embrace a complementary treatment involving macro-level, collective boundary constraints of an ethico-social-biophysical character selecting what market dynamics are permissible. In this way, economics is transformed from mere dynamics to semiotics, in accord with von Neumann’s seminal work disclosing that life is to be identified with the selective action of boundary constraints of a linguistic or semiotic nature.