Get A Crude Look at the Whole: The Science of Complex Systems in PDF

By John H. Miller

ISBN-10: 0465055699

ISBN-13: 9780465055692

Imagine attempting to comprehend a stained glass window by means of breaking it into items and reading it one shard at a time. when you may perhaps most likely research much approximately every bit, you are going to don't know approximately what the full photograph feels like. this can be reductionism—the concept that to appreciate the area we basically have to research its pieces—and it really is how so much social scientists strategy their work.

In A Crude examine the Whole, social scientist and economist John H. Miller indicates why we have to commence entire photographs. For something, even if we're speaking approximately inventory markets, machine networks, or organic organisms, person elements purely make feel after we do not forget that they're a part of better wholes. and maybe extra importantly, these wholes can tackle behaviors which are strikingly diversified from that in their pieces.
Miller, a number one professional within the computational research of complicated adaptive platforms, finds magnificent worldwide styles linking the association of in a different way appreciably diversified constructions: it could appear crude, yet a beehive’s temperature keep watch over approach might help expect industry fluctuations and a mammal’s heartbeat will help us comprehend the “heartbeat” of a urban and adapt city making plans consequently. From enduring racial segregation to unexpected inventory marketplace failures, after we commence drawing hyperlinks among advanced platforms, we will begin fixing what another way may be absolutely intractable problems.

Thanks to this innovative standpoint, we will ultimately go beyond the boundaries of reductionism and detect the most important new rules. Scientifically based and fantastically written, A Crude examine the Whole is a robust exploration of the demanding situations that we are facing as a society. because it unearths, taking the crude glance will be the single strategy to actually see.

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Extra info for A Crude Look at the Whole: The Science of Complex Systems in Business, Life, and Society

Sample text

Consider the purpose of the pattern that we see on the cone snail shell. In a world driven by evolution, that pattern is more likely associated with the more successful cone snails, either because it provides some direct fitness advantage or because it takes a free ride on something that does. In this case, the pattern likely helps our slow-­moving yet carnivorous sea snail either by providing it some camouflage from, or by making it attractive to, its prey. In the checkerboard automata above, we saw how a simple rule can generate a global pattern.

Alternatively, it might land on an unstable part of the pile, triggering an avalanche. Over time, this interplay of stability and instability self-organizes the sand pile into a critical state. Once this happens, we find that avalanches of all sizes are possible (the distribution of which is described by a scaling law), with smaller ones far more likely than larger ones. One implication of the sand pile is that once we enter the critical regime, the dropping of a single grain of sand can cause, on rare occasions, an avalanche encompassing the entire pile.

The answer to such a conundrum is that considering only the need for a good—the so-called demand side of the market—gives us only part of the picture. Along with the demand for a good, one must also consider its supply. Thus, drinkable water is abundant (though this is changing), while diamonds are rare and (somewhat) difficult to find. The medieval Muslim economist Ibn Taymiyyah wrote in the 1300s, “If desire for the good increases while its availability decreases, its price rises. ” Such thinking gets refined in subsequent generations by thinkers such as John Locke in 1691 and James Denham-Steuart (who first used the phrase “supply and demand” in a book published in 1767, just nine years before Smith’s Wealth of Nations).

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A Crude Look at the Whole: The Science of Complex Systems in Business, Life, and Society by John H. Miller


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