Europe, the Eurozone Crisis, Complexity and Systemantics

The laws of systemantics are said to be pseudo-science. Fair enough. A few of these laws are listed below. They apply to highly complex systems. Think of these laws and then think of the EU and of the Euro.

  • Le Chatelier’s Principle: Complex systems tend to oppose their own proper function. As systems grow in complexity, they tend to oppose their stated function.
  • A complex system cannot be “made” to work. It either works or it doesn’t.
  • A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that works.
  • A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over, beginning with a working simple system.
  • The Functional Indeterminacy Theorem (F.I.T.): In complex systems, malfunction and even total non-function may not be detectable for long periods, if ever.
  • The Fundamental Failure-Mode Theorem (F.F.T.): Complex systems usually operate in failure mode.
  • A complex system can fail in an infinite number of ways.
  • The larger the system, the greater the probability of unexpected failure.
  • As systems grow in size, they tend to lose basic functions.
  • Colossal systems foster colossal errors.

via Ontonix – Complex Systems Management, Business Risk Management.

Even when the DNA is similar “we can’t fix today’s problems with yesterday’s tools”:: Part 1

This quote is from David Cole (Chief Risk Officer, Swiss Re) and, needless to say, he wasn’t talking about fixing his 30 year old VW Golf! He was actually talking about our current “economic ills” and the quote appeared in relation to the 2012 Global Risks report from WEF…but the Principle readily applies to both.

Circa 35 years ago, the engine of a popular family vehicle was a complicated machine, that could be maintained, faults identified, performance improved and mechanical repairs undertaken, even at roadside, by an enthusiastic amateur. Observation, diagnosis or intervention at the appropriate stage in the process was possible. However, in a relatively short period of time, these machines have evolved into highly complex systems. The complexity is such that, even a skilled motor mechanic armed with 30+ years knowledge and tools that have changed little, can be rendered helpless.

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Why systems-thinking and Complexity management are vital for survival

Collapse, if and when it comes again, will this time be global. No longer can any individual nation collapse. World civilization will disintegrate as a whole. Competitors who evolve as peers collapse in like manner.


The Collapse of Complex Civilisations (1988, p214)

Complexity is a characteristic of dynamic systems. It is the multiple inter-connections, sometimes referred to as the “problem-solving capability”, without which the system cannot perform its intended purpose(s). Every system has a sustainable level of complexity [critical complexity].

Butterfly Effect: Due to the inter-connectedness of systems the impact of a single (even relatively minor) event can be manifest in more than one outcome.

Catastrophic changes in the overall state of a system can ultimately derive from how it is organised — from feedback mechanisms within it, and from linkages that are latent and often unrecognised.

From a report for Federal Reserve Bank of New York Read more of this post

Ontonix “compass”:: for the long and winding road to enlightenment

…a growing minority of business/managerial economists consider Taylorist scientific management (which has made it to the present day through various mutations and enrichments) as still plagued by extreme mechanism and unaware of the lessons coming from complexity science (deterministic chaos, emergent behavior): they therefore believe that it should be replaced with models inspired by non-linear dynamical systems, non-equilibrium thermodynamics, agent-based simulations and other modern “complex” tools

via The long and winding road to: Enlightenment? (via Stupor Complexus) « Get "fit for randomness" [with Ontonix UK].

Ontonix:: how much globalisation can the World afford?

макет вращающейся планеты Земля, формат - &quo...

Image via Wikipedia

How much globalisation can the World digest? Have we reached the limit? What is the limit, if any? Is globalisation piloted and induced, or is it just a spontaneous and inevitable result of economic (and human) development? These are not easy questions to tackle. However, with the aid of complexity – which is a meta-KPI combining a multitude of conventional indicators into a single scalar measure – we can gain insight into the dynamics of globalisation. Based on data from the World Bank, we have measured and analysed the evolution of complexity of the World as a system. The analysis (see the end of this blog for a complete list of parameters) has embraced 600+ parameters, spanning the period 1970-2010 and covering the following facets of our global society:

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