Commerce, Complexity, and Evolution is a significant contribution to the new paradigm straddling economics, finance, marketing, and management, which acknowledges that commercial systems are evolutionary systems and must therefore be analyzed with evolutionary tools. Evolutionary systems also display complicated behaviors that are, to a significant degree, generated endogenously, rather than being solely the product of exogenous shocks, hence the conjunction of complexity with evolution. The papers in this volume consider a wide range of systems, from the entire economy at one extreme to the behavior of single markets at the other. The authors consider commerce from a variety of perspectives, ranging from marketing to macroeconomics. The papers are united by methodologies that, at their core, are evolutionary, although the techniques cover a wide range, from philosophical discourse to differential equations, genetic algorithms, multiagent simulations, and cellular automata. Some of the many issues considered include the dynamics of debt deflation, stock management in a complex environment, interactions among consumers and their effect on market behavior, and nonlinear methods to profit from financial market volatility. Because intellectual analysis is itself an evolutionary process, several of the papers critically analyze this newly emerging approach to understanding humankind's most complex invention, its social system.
The papers are a refereed, revised, and updated subset of those first presented to the twelfth conference in the series International Symposia in Economic Theory and Econometrics. The conference was held at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, in 1996, and attracted participants from Australia, Japan, Europe, and the United States.