Don Lavoie published a book in 1985 that is underappreciated (mainly due to inattention) by the current generation in my opinion, National Economic Planning: What is Left?, and I hope that an online version will be made available either by CATO (the original co-publisher) or Liberty Fund in the not too distant future so a new generation will get to read this book. Of the many novel perspectives pushed in that book, Lavoie tried to develop a close analogy between the work of E. O. Wilson on ant colonies and the information processing that takes place in a modern economy. "Human mass communication takes place where an individual engages in the dual process of actively influencing other by secreting 'money pheromones' in particular directions, thereby bidding up prices in those avenues, and of passively responding to the prices resulting from the money issuing from other individuals." (p. 70) The students of Don sometimes joked about Don and his insects and at other times were completely enamored by his efforts. Heck Gordon Tullock also was studying insects so there must be something to it, I remember thinking as I read a rough draft manuscript copy of Tullock's Cooperation Without Command. This was after I had a wonderful conversation with Tullock one afternoon outside the Center for Study of Public Choice about the ant hill that was forming on the side-walk in front of the building.
Lavoie was the first person who ever told me about sociobiology, and Tullock is the first person I ever heard use the term bioeconomics. The evolutionary metaphor was of course also used by Hayek in his writings, and it was also used by another of my professors -- Kenneth Boulding. In fact, my first serious effort at journal publishing was a paper entitled "Evolution and Economics: Austrians as Institutionalists," Research in the History of Economic Thought & Methodology (6) 1989 [a paper I actually wrote in my first year of graduate school, and which served along with a paper by Warren Samuels as the centerpieces for a symposium in the journal]. During this time I tried to read everything I could get my hands on that related to evolution and economics from Veblen to Boulding to Hayek; from Alchian to Nelson and Winter, and Loasby, etc.. I also appreciated the criticisms of evolutionary explanations that one could find in Rothbard and Kirzner from a Misesian human actor perspective. In fact, what I tried to do in that original paper was to reconcile Misesian methodological individualism with an emphasis on the evolution of institutions that one read in the works of Veblen to Boulding.
Fast forward 20 years, and the issue of evolution and economics is still hotly debated. David Sloan Wilson has established a website that is dedicated to discussing the various versions of evolutionary economics.* He actually has two wonderful installments on Lin Ostrom, one basically introducing her and her work, and the other discussing her recipe for success in institutions that govern the commons.
*See Todd Zywicki's review essay of Wilson and Sober's Unto Others.