Download A Crude Look at the Whole: The Science of Complex Systems in by John H. Miller PDF

By John H. Miller

Imagine attempting to comprehend a stained glass window by means of breaking it into items and analyzing it one shard at a time. if you may possibly most likely study much approximately every piece, you'll don't know approximately what the total photo seems like. this can be reductionism—the concept that to appreciate the area we in basic terms have to learn its pieces—and it really is how such a lot social scientists process their work.

In A Crude examine the Whole, social scientist and economist John H. Miller indicates why we have to commence taking a look at complete photographs. For something, even if we're speaking approximately inventory markets, laptop networks, or organic organisms, person components simply 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 structures, finds wonderful worldwide styles linking the association of differently noticeably diversified buildings: it may well look crude, yet a beehive’s temperature keep watch over method may help are expecting marketplace fluctuations and a mammal’s heartbeat may help us comprehend the “heartbeat” of a urban and adapt city making plans hence. From enduring racial segregation to surprising inventory marketplace mess ups, when we commence drawing hyperlinks among complicated structures, we will be able to begin fixing what differently should be absolutely intractable problems.

Thanks to this progressive standpoint, we will be able to eventually go beyond the bounds of reductionism and observe the most important new principles. 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 really see.

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

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As Smith put it: “By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. ” Smith’s insights into what economists call general equilibrium are part of a remarkable arc of economic thinking and intellectual triumph spanning hundreds of years. Such thinking is often driven by trying to resolve a paradox. For example, water, an essential element for life, is cheap, while diamonds, an inessential bauble, are expensive. How can this be?

More generally, it may be the case that carefully controlled, centralized systems are more of a modern artifact, driven by reductionist thinking, than a universal norm. Indeed, there are plenty of examples where the principles of feedback, heterogeneity, and randomness conspire to create complex systems that are without centralized control, yet quite productive. Effective decentralized decision making may be one of the best new old ideas to emerge from complex systems. When we think about decision making, our natural tendency is to focus on our own decisions.

Once this is recognized, a vast frontier of discovery opens up, allowing us to finally make sense of our world. We find ourselves in a race for knowledge and control of the complex world around us. This is a race that we must win if we are to thrive, and perhaps even survive, as a species. Our very existence relies on the complex systems that bind our food supplies to our energy networks to our global climate to every institution in our society. We have grown to a sheer size and degree of connectivity where local actions now have global consequences.

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