Inequality and economic efficiency of society through the prism of thermodynamics (image by www.ima.umn.edu)

Ksenzhek & Petrova – Inequality and Economic Efficiency of Society through the Prism of Thermodynamics

“Inequality, when it refers to social problems, is a word which rather readily excites passions. During at least two centuries it remains a permanent matter of a great number of economic, sociological, and in some cases even political works. The phenomenon of inequality is perceived often almost as a synonym of ”injustice”. That is unjust, however, because since Adam Smith it is clear that inequality plays really the dual role. On the one hand, inequality is a mechanism of development, and on the other a standing source of poverty and social tensions. An ever-growing degree of inequality that accompanies rapid development of contemporary economy excites both the general public and experts in sociology and economy. Inequality in society has indeed two aspects: social and economic one. The former manifests itself in the difference of living standards of various social strata of society: the real disparity in housing conditions, in the accessibility of education, adequate medical care, legal protection, and the like. On the economic plane, inequality is expressed in the disparity of incomes.

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complex adaptive systems (image via blogs.discovermagazine.com)

John H. Miller & Scott E. Page – Complex Adaptive Systems

An Introduction to Computational Models of Social Life

“Adaptive social systems are composed of interacting, thoughtful (but perhaps not brilliant) agents. It would be difficult to date the exact moment that such systems first arose on our planet—perhaps it was when early single-celled organisms began to compete with one another for resources or, more likely, much earlier when chemical interactions in the primordial soup began to self-replicate. Once these adaptive social systems emerged, the planet underwent a dramatic change where, as Charles Darwin noted, “from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.” Indeed, we find ourselves at the beginning of a new millennium being not only continually surprised, delighted, and confounded by the unfolding of social systems with which we are well acquainted, but also in the enviable position of creating and crafting novel adaptive social systems such as those arising in computer networks.

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The ecosystem of a coral reef requires continuous mutual adaptation of individuals and species, like Yolanda Reef in Ras Muhammad nature park, Sinai, Egypt. Image: Mikhail Rogov, Wikimedia Commons

Serena Chan – Complex Adaptive Systems

“The definition for complex adaptive systems seems to change with the different attempts at application. In order to make a good match between a hard-to-solve problem and a complexity approach, it is important to consider whether and how the problem exhibits attributes of a complex adaptive system. Research is indicating that CAS have a number of characteristics which are described in the following subsections.

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john holden, Cultural Value and the Crisis of Legitimacy (image via johnholden.info)

John Holden – Cultural Value and the Crisis of Legitimacy

“The ‘cultural system’ faces a crisis of legitimacy. At local government level culture is suffering extreme funding cuts, the recent Arts Council England (ACE) Peer Review uncovers a rift between ACE and its Whitehall department, and individual organisations continue to stagger from one damning headline to the next. These are the current symptoms of a deeper problem that has dogged culture for the last 30 years.

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Norbert Bolz management of culture (image via www.migrosmagazin.ch)

Norbert Bolz – On the Management of Cultural Meaningfulness

Compensating the Burdens of Modernization

In the following I will attempt to make culture recognizable as a compensation of modern society. I assume we agree that our society is unmanageably complex, our technologies overburden us and the human standard no longer provides us with an orientation in our world. Culture offers compensation for these extreme demands. It promises us an escape from complexity and it offers us symbols of unity.

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DavidMcClelland (image via en.wikipedia.org)

David C. McClelland – The Achieving Society

“This book grew out of an attempt by a psychologist, trained in behavioral science methods, to isolate certain psychological factors and to demonstrate rigorously by quantitative methods that these factors are generally important in economic development. The scope of such an enterprise turned out to be truly alarming for one whose background in the social sciences was slight to begin with.

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SchumpeterJoseph methological individualism (image via studentthinktank.eu)

Joseph Schumpeter – Methodological Individualism

Having disposed of the queries associated with the hypothesis of value and with the problem of human motivation, all we still need to prove is that our assumptions are based on the possession of wealth by the individual. This is bound to evoke some criticism because, in this day and age, tha validity of the individualistic concept is strongly queried.

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Thomas K. McCraw business cycles (image via news.harvard.edu)

Thomas K. McCraw | Schumpeter’s Business Cycles as Business History

“Schumpeter chose the title Business Cycles not only because the topic was then fashionable (it was the central economic puzzle of the time, and had been even before the Great Depression), but also because he wanted to emphasize the economic ebb and flow that defines capitalism. “Cycles,” he writes in his preface, “are not, like tonsils, separable things that might be treated by themselves, but are, like the beat of the heart, of the essence of the organism that displays them.”

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