Category: Human complex systems

  • The long-term goals of businesses

    Businesses don’t seem to have any long–term goals apart from staying in business. They no doubt provide benefits to their shareholders and executives during their lifetime but why they aim at persisting in their existence with little reflection devoted to the “why?” of it is far from obvious. There is a clear analogy here with people and groups of people who – as we know from experience – persist in their endeavors without often much of a justification for why.

    An analogy can be drawn here with a particular form of kinship structure which the anthropologist Marshall Sahlins explained in … Read the rest

  • Human Complex Systems

    My French blog was started on February 28th, my English blog, a few days later, on March 3rd, both of this year. By mid-July, the French blog had an average readership of 40 per day, among whom about 20 new readers; by now, 4 months later, the average readership is 160 (over the past 30 days), among whom about 100 new readers per day. The English blog, from its inception has had a following of anywhere between 0 and 30 a day.

    The reason for the different fates of the two blogs is clear: the average time between two posts … Read the rest

  • Stock prices and the shape of randomness

    I remember an illustration in an article by Heinz von Foerster in the 1960s. In the first picture, a set of tiny cubes were represented, piled up in a random manner. The reader was told that these were steel cubes magnetized on one of their sides. The second picture showed what had happened after the cubes were put in a container that was then thoroughly shaken for a while: the cubes had aligned to create a complex structure with perpendicular ridges shooting out and closing up. There was still some randomness in the arrangement but it was so delicate and … Read the rest