The Complexity of Transitions

Complexity approaches to socio-economic systems have mostly involved financial markets. Here we claim that technological change is another promising field for complexity theories, and that technological transitions in particular have a large potential of new insights that complexity thinking can offer. In this paper we review a number of concepts and modelling approaches that we believe are particularly interesting in attacking technological transitions. It is not our aim to be exhaustive in this review, but only to propose the approaches that we believe were most significant and that we think are most promising for future research. In a number of cases, we explicitly indicate direction for further research. The article is organized as follows. Section 2 addresses multiple equilibria, network externalities and positive feedback. Section 3 shows how game theory and evolutionary game theory are insightful for transitions in a strategic context. Section 4 presents diffusion on networks, with an accent on phase transitions. Section 5 reviews models of cascades and herding behavior. Section 6 is totally dedicated to a model of network formation based on the concept of catalytic processes. Section 7 is about the complexity of modular technologies, and Section 8 considers the case of niche technologies. Finally, Section 9 concludes.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
This entry was posted in Complexity, Phase transitions, Socio-economic systems, Technological change, Technological transitions and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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