Self-Organization: Tool of the Oppressed

I previously proposed hypotheses about how self-organization in social systems might be expected to work suggesting that the rate and creativity of the self-organizing process will correlate positively with the energy inserted into the system from the outside and the desperation of the population. I further suggested that in general one might anticipate a roughly…

Self-Organization

As the world gets increasingly interconnected and increasingly complex, self-organized political activity is becoming increasingly important, so understanding how self-organization works, what intensifies it, and how it can be influenced are increasingly important goals. Unfortunately, it is not clear that complexity theory can offer many insights into these details that would be of value to…

Heterogeneity

Complexity suggests that we can assume any regime will be heterogeneous in terms of say, policy preference, and will be in the process of evolving into something unanticipated. These simple insights can rescue failing foreign policies!

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…

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…