Complication vs. Complexity
By Arnold Kling
In an interview, Ben Ramalin says,
We treat complex things as if they were merely complicated… distinguished between complicated systems, which can be modeled mathematically, and complex systems, for which there is no mathematical model which can say, if X is the situation then do Y. Sustainability, healthy communities, raising families have all been given as examples of such complex systems and processes. Peacebuilding would be another, women’s empowerment, natural resource management, capacity building initiatives, innovation systems, the list goes on and on. Complexity science pulls back the curtain on these processes and it can force you to think about the world you live in in a different way.
People tell me that I would really like complexity theory. But if all it tells me is that, say, macroeconomics is too nonlinear and dynamic for us to be able to build mathematical models to manage the economy, then I know that already. Does it tell us anything more?