Economic and Social Development: A Process of Social Learning

Economic and Social Development: A Process of Social Learning

Economic and Social Development: A Process of Social Learning

Economic and Social Development: A Process of Social Learning

Excerpt

This book is a happening. It grew, unpremeditated, out of the anomalous experiences that accompany social science research. The step-wise process of individual learning brought me here, aided and abetted by Albert Hirshman's "principle of the hiding hand." I was protected by my ignorance and did not know in advance the difficulties and troubles that lay in store. I have been rewarded by an adventure in learning, of which I hope this volume represents only the first stage.

This is a book about human problem solving seen as a process of social learning. It grew out of a process of problem solving and a record of its evolution would, itself, form a good illustration of a number of aspects of the process here described. Several colleagues have taken note of this fact. It is hoped, however, that the organization of this volume bears only minor traces of this process, for such a representation of the learning path would not serve best the requirements of exposition and communication.

The theme is the following: Evolution, biological and social, is a learning process. Phylogenesis is a learning process that has bred animal learning and human learning leading to social learning. Social learning incorporates many characteristics of its antecedent learning processes but exhibits many unique characteristics of its own. Some of these are becoming evident. Others will require the advance of social science to uncover. Many of the most critical human social problems of our day are developmental problems that can only be successfully approached through the medium of some understanding of this learning process. However, the conventional metaphors and methods of eco-

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