InterJournal Complex Systems, 127
Status: Accepted
Manuscript Number: [127]
Submission Date: 981025
Socioeconomic Systems as Nested Dissipative Adaptive Systems (Holarchies) and their Dynamic Energy Budget: validation of the approach
Author(s): Kozo Mayumi

Subject(s): CX.43, CX.44

Category: Brief Article


The text of this paper is divided into 5 sections: section 1 describes the procedure used to set up a database referring to 107 countries of the world comprising more than 90% of world population. The remaining four parts present 4 applications of the approach which confirm the 4 hypotheses presented in the previous paper: (1) the indicator of development (BEP) suggested according to theoretical consideration, which is obtained combining only biophysical variables for which assessments are available, correlates better than GNP with a set of more than 20 traditional indicators of development used by the World Bank; (2) it is possible to visualize a common trajectory of development for all countries comprised in the sample, when we describe their evolution in an appropriate state space. This seems to confirm that the need of congruence among flows of energy, human time, and money across levels imposes constraints on the path of development; (3) equations of congruence across levels can be used to establish a direct link between demographic variables, level of development, existing technology and the availability of natural resources. This makes possible to discuss the feasibility of different scenarios by checking the perspective about the effects generated by the very same change on different hierarchical levels; (4) our dataset seems to indicate that the so-called phenomenon of ``demographic transition'' can be studied, by adopting our approach, in terms of a shift from one metastable equilibrium of the dynamic societal energy budget to another. This finding is particularly relevant since, at the moment, the only two points of zero-growth equilibrium accessible for human societies are: (i) the short life span-poor material standard of living typical of pre-industrial societies and (ii) the high-waste-based typical of developed post-industrial societies. To increase the sustainability of our civilization we have to look for a different combination among the relevant variables.

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