This paper argues that the ideas that win out in economics are not necessarily those that a representative researcher would choose, but are rather the emergent result of the competition of ideas in which system replicator dynamics dominate. This means that those ideas that fit the analytic technology available to researchers at the time dominate, while better ideas that do not offer advancement to researchers lose out. This paper spells out that view. It differentiates a consumers understanding of theory from a producers understanding of theory, and argues that a consumers understanding of theory is often better suited to applied policy than is a producers understanding of theory. Because the replicator dynamics of the economics profession does not reward people for acquiring a consumers understanding of theory, that understanding is often neglected. Heterodox economists often have a better consumers understanding of theory than do mainstream economists but because they do not prepare students to be successful in economic institutional environment, their views do not receive the hearing they should in the profession. The paper offers a number of suggestions for heterodox European macro economists for competing and shaping the economic institutional environment.


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