Natural Selection or Will Power: How to Interpret the Process of Creative Destruction?

The difficult connection between Nietzsche’s philosophy and economics has only been very recently examined. This essay examines (a) the introduction of Nietzsche’s particular meaning of “creative destruction” in economics and (b) the philosophical justification of this notion. In so doing, the paper evaluates the conflicting evolutionist and Nietzschean interpretations of “creative destruction.” It is difficult to reconcile these two metaphors in order to demonstrate that the will for power offers a better interpretation of the “creative destruction” mechanism than does the fight for life.

What does homo economicus want?

R. Robb (2009a) has recently initiated a reconciliation of the will to power from Nietzsche’s philosophy with economics and, more specifically, with the modeling of agents’ behavior. He wanted to highlight the inconsistency of the standard economic approach with the will to power, on the one hand, and presents examples that supposedly show that, in many situations, the second has a higher explanatory power than the first, on the second hand. This thesis gives rise to a controversy on these two points with J. J. Heckman (2009). This polemic has many shortcomings due to a superficial and sometimes erroneous conception of Nietzsche’s philosophy, supported by the use of a source that is well-known as being faulty. This article aims to reassess the controversy, based on Nietzsche’s text as restored by Colli and Montinari. We try to draw a better lesson from Nietzsche’s philosophy for agents’ behavior.

Nietzsche and work: This “vice” of our time

This paper seeks to reexamine Nietzsche’s views on work as an activity. Instead of explaining Nietzsche’s positions on work through his philosophy, we shed light on his philosophy—particularly his rejection of both liberalism and socialism—based on his criticism of work. This methodological approach allows us to fully take into account both aspects of his criticism of work and his abhorrence of modernity and its political ideologies, which are its byproducts.