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International Conference on Complex Systems (ICCS2006)

The Global Political System: A Dynamical System within the Chaotic Phase, A Case Study of Stuart Kauffman's Complex Adaptive System Theory

Bennett Stark
Visiting Scholar, Agnes Scott College, Decatur, GA

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     Last modified: July 27, 2006


The capacity of biological systems for self-adaptation has been a significant theme in the current life-science academic literature. Theoretical biologist and co-founder of the Santa Fe Institute, Stuart Kauffman has provided a framework with which this property can be studied. He maintains that technological evolution illustrates this property and that areas of political evolution may also illustrate this property. Kauffman hypothesizes that self-adaptation is a prerequisite for evolution.

The article is an examination of the global political system as a case study within Kauffman’s complex adaptive systems theory. I apply the dynamical systems framework employed by Kauffman. Additionally, I have appended the Strogatz-Watts small world model, which I have used as an optimal information processing system, to my construction of optimal global governance. The latter is an adaptation of Kauffman’s construct of an optimal fitness landscape. I explain why self-adaptation does not explain the global political system and postulate what conditions must be met if it did.

I focus on the structural properties of the strong nation system and argue that anarchic conditions within the global political system foster a maladaptive strong nation system that is an extension of human self-maximizing behavior unconstrained by law or culture. I focus, as well, upon critical issues confronting global society at this juncture in history, including the increasing interconnectivity arising from the widespread expansion of global society within the biosphere and the increasing interconnectivity emerging within and between societies.

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