The Purpose of Economic Life is Us

There is an order in the open-ended drift by which economic life develops and expands, but it is not the order of “challenge” and “response” to be found in military thinking or in Toynbee’s idea that civilizations die because they fail to respond to challenge. Rather, the order at work is more like biological evolution whose purpose, if any, we cannot see unless we are satisfied to think its purpose is us.

Jane Jacobs, Cities and the Wealth of Nations (1984)

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