Integrating System Dynamics With Complex-Adaptive Systems

To meet the life-threatening challenges of global misgovernment, global warming, and environmental degradation, we need far more realistic conceptual insights into what is actually going on. The best current hope for sharpening our analytical vision is the integration of system dynamics and complexity theory. System dynamics and complex-adaptive systems are the two most sophisticated perspectives…

Omitted Variable Bias in Scenario Analysis

Phil Schrodt, a very wise leader in the sub-field of quantitative political methodology, recently wrote a “suffer no fools and take no prisoners” review of the state of the sub-field (“Seven Deadly Sins of Contemporary Quantitative Political Analysis”). Needless to say, I work in a different sub-field, that of qualitative political methodology. But Schrodt’s critique…

Punctuated Equilibrium in World Affairs

Samir Rihani refers in his book Complexity: An Appropriate Framework for Development to the “apparent stability of the communist system in eastern Europe…and its rapid collapse” [240] as an example of punctuated equilibrium in world affairs. Punctuated equilibrium in evolution—e.g., the explosion of mammalian species following the extinction of the dynosaurs–has become a relatively familiar…

Accidental Adversaries in History

Human history is a long story often made longer…and less interesting…by being reduced to a litany of facts. (Fact: a piece of information which, albeit true, is meaningless.) The real story of history deals with “how” and “why.”  One very under-reported answer is some version of the system dynamics archetype “accidental adversaries.” It would be…