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A Sourcebook for the Worldwide Discovery of a Creative Organic Universe
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VI. Earth Life Emergence: Development of Body, Brain, Selves and Societies

2. Complex Local and Global Societies

Fiske, Alan. Complementarity Theory: Why Human Social Capabilities Evolved to Require Cultural Complements. Personality and Social Psychology Review. 4/1, 2000. On the reciprocal interplay of discrete, individual “proclivities” and encompassing, contextual “paradigms.”

Human fitness and well-being depend on social coordination characterized by complementarity among the participant’s actions. (76)

Foster, John and J. Stanley Metcalfe, eds. Frontiers of Evolutionary Economics. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, 2001. Proceedings from a conference to survey and assess new directions in this approach. After some years of applying a Darwinian approach to economic theory, an expansion is now underway to incorporate dynamic self-organizing networks. The same sequence holds again as for many other disciplines to first seek a wider basis in life’s biological evolution and then move on to the deeper influences of nonlinear complex systems. A good tutorial and overview.

This has drawn many evolutionary economists into the modern complexity science literature that attempts to provide an understanding of how and why ‘complex adaptive systems’ engage in processes of self-organization. The goal is to provide an integrated analysis of both selection and self-organization that is uniquely economic in orientation. (ix)

Gallotti, Mattia and Chris Frith. Social Cognition in the We-Mode. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. Online March, 2013. Ecole Normale Sperieure, Paris, and University College London psychologists further quantify and affirm the essential Me and We reciprocity that distinguishes and serves all manner of natural and human assemblies. A focus and recognition both of these dual aspects, and their salutary complementarity for any successful group activity is of crucial value today. This United States could not be more in violation, unbeknownst, with Me and We parties, states, cultural factions, in fatal gridlock conflict. See also Gallotti’s paper “A Naturalistic Argument for the Irreducibility of Collective Intentionality” in Philosophy of the Social Sciences (42/1, 2012).

According to many philosophers and scientists, human sociality is explained by the unique capacity to share the mental states of others. Shared intentionality has been widely debated in the past two decades in ways that also enlighten the current ‘interactive turn’ in social cognition. In this article, we examine the function and significance for interacting agents of sharing minds in an irreducibly collective mode called the ‘we-mode’. This first-person plural perspective captures the viewpoint of individuals engaged in social interactions and thus expands each individual's potential for social understanding and action. This proposal shows that a non-reductionist, interaction-based approach can be developed that nevertheless resists recent suggestions concerning the constitutive role of interaction for social cognition. (Abstract)

Gao, Jian, et al. Computational Socioeconomics. Physics Reports. Online June, 2019. The Chinese computer scientist authors JG, Yi-Cheng Zhang and Tao Zhou have multiple postings such as the University of Electronic Science and Technology, MIT Media Lab and University of Fribourg, Switzerland. At 122 pages and 877 references the entry achieves a sophisticated quantification of our intense, electronic, urban, commercial societies. Main sections cover Global development, inequality and complexity; Regional socioeconomic status and urban perception; Individual socioeconomic status and attributes; and Situational awareness and disaster management. These include social psychologies, epidemics, online media, demographics, employment and much more. To reflect, a worldwide retrospective analysis is now possible of our relative human civilizations. By this global vista, a novel mathematical dimension, with scale-free regularities and inherent dynamics, becomes evident as not before.

Uncovering the structure of socioeconomic systems and timely estimation of socioeconomic status are significant for economic development. The understanding of socioeconomic processes provides foundations to quantify global economic development, to map regional industrial structure, and to infer individual socioeconomic status. In this review, we will make a brief manifesto about a new interdisciplinary research field named Computational Socioeconomics, followed by detailed introduction about data resources, computational tools, data-driven methods, theoretical models and novel applications at multiple resolutions, including the quantification of global economic inequality and complexity, the map of regional industrial structure and urban perception, the estimation of individual socioeconomic status and demographic, and the real-time monitoring of emergent events. This review, together with pioneering works we have highlighted, will draw increasing interdisciplinary attentions and induce a methodological shift in future socioeconomic studies. (Abstract)

Garcia, E. Andres. The Use of Complex Adaptive Systems in Organizational Studies. Francis Heylighen, et al, eds. The Evolution of Complexity. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic, 1999. Nonlinear dynamics are applied to social, economic and ecological systems to reveal “a nested hierarchy of open, interconnected systems.”

All of these fields seem to be converging on a paradigm composed of a set of principles common to complex systems, principles which appear to be independent of the specific domain under investigation by consistently operating across many spatial and temporal scales, resolutions, systems types, and scientific disciplines. (281)

Gavrilets, Sergey and Peter Richerson. Collective Action and the Evolution of Social Norm Internalization. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 114/6068, 2017. A University of Tennessee ecologist and an UC Davis environmentalist trace a constant propensity for human groupings to evolve toward more beneficial behaviors via a formation of tacit, agreed standards.

People often ignore material costs they incur when following existing social norms. Some individuals and groups are often willing to pay extremely high costs to enact, defend, or promulgate specific values and norms that they consider important. Such behaviors, often decreasing biological fitness, represent an evolutionary puzzle. We study theoretically the evolutionary origins of human capacity to internalize and follow social norms. We focus on two general types of collective actions our ancestors were regularly involved in: cooperation to overcome nature’s challenges and conflicts with neighboring groups. We show that norm internalization evolves under a wide range of conditions, making cooperation “instinctive.” We make testable predictions about individual and group behavior. (Significance)

Gintis, Herbert. Strong Reciprocity and Human Sociality. Journal of Theoretical Biology. 206/2, 2000. Empirical studies can quantify a pervasive tendency for mutual aid among social assemblies.

Gligor, Mircea and Margareta Ignat. Some Demographic Crashes Seen as Phase Transitions. Physica A. 301/535, 2001. Population dynamics exhibit an underlying mathematical basis when modeled by nonlinear statistical theories.

The interest in searching for power laws in the description of complex, collective phenomena is caused by the fact that these power laws are universal, that is to a large degree independent of the microscopic details of the phenomenon. As such, they are typical features of a collective mechanism like the phase transitions: many observables behave as universal power laws in the vicinity of the transition point. Also, the interest for power laws is related to an important property of power laws, namely scale invariance: the characteristic length scale of a physical system at its crritical point is infinite, leading to self-similar, scale-free flucations. (536)

Goldstone, Robert and Marco Janssen. Computational Models of Collective Behavior. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 9/9, 2005. A survey of how complex systems theory is bringing a new explanatory basis to the human sciences – sociology, economics, psychology, anthropology. By computational is meant the use of “agent-based models” whereby tacit rules inform interactions between autonomous entities as they self-organize into emergent group behaviors.

Goldstone, Robert, et al. Emergent Processes in Group Behavior. Current Directions in Psychological Science. 17/1, 2008. Researchers at Indiana University use agent-based computational models to quantify how human communities of many kinds might take on a life and cognitive capacity of their own.

Just as neurons interconnect in networks that create structured thoughts beyond the ken of any individual neuron, so people spontaneously organize themselves into groups to create emergent organizations that no individual may intend, comprehend, or even perceive. (10) Social phenomena such as the spread of gossip, the World-Wide Web, the popularity of cultural icons, legal systems, and scientific establishments all take on a life of their owe, complete with their own self-organized divisions of labor and specialization, feedback loops, growth, and adaptations. (10)

Guimera, R., et al. Self-Similar Community Structure in a Network of Human interactions. Physical Review E. 065103, 2003. In theory complex networks form a hierarchical structure of nested “communities.” This is borne out by a study of a large university email system. The authors go on to state that such “spontaneous self-organization” is an example of a universally present natural principle.

By using the same argument, one can expect that the scaling behavior we obtain should be observable in any human social network. At the same time, the similarity with river networks suggests that a common principle of optimization – of flow of information in organizations or of flow of water in rivers – could be the underlying driving force in the formation and evolution of social networks. (065103-4)

Hackenberg, Robert and Beverly Hackenberg. Notes Toward a New Future: Applied Anthropology in Century XXI. Human Organization. 63/4, 2004. Still another field, in this case to also be “postmodern,” finds that “nonlinear dynamic systems” theories are especially suitable to advance the study of multifaceted human societies. The main paper is An Anthropological Problem, A Complex Solution by Michael Agar whence “a narrative of connections and contingencies” and agent-based modeling can apply, e.g., to urban epidemics of illicit drug use.

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