Ever since economists first began to inquire into the nature of what Adam Smith called “the human propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another”, they have resorted to metaphors to make sense of phenomena like markets and money. Rather often, they borrowed ideas from the biological sciences of their time. If we track the evolution of “economic biology” over time, it turns out that most extensions and elaborations of the metaphor carry subtle but strong traces of their approximate historical provenance. More generally, a historical perspective enables one to see the metaphors underlying economic reasoning as flexible and dynamic processes, rather than as fixed and static systems.
Applications of Cognitive Linguistics [acl]: Figurative Language in Business and Economics, 2012, p. 49-76
History of economic thought; historical situatedness; evolution of economic metaphors