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