We first encountered complex adaptive systems (CASs) when doing graduate work in computer science. When our interests moved to economies and markets, the fact that these were CASs was always in the back of our mind. Recently it occurred to us that a/the fundamental property of a CAS is its internal energy in both quantity and structure, how this energy is acquired and how it is used. The acquisition of energy in an appropriate form is a necessary condition for the survival and growth of a CAS. Consequently we began to rethink CASs from the viewpoint of their inputs.
Very recently, several articles have come to our attention that seem related from our new perspective. It’s quite wonderful how a new line of thinking turns everything we encounter into a “nail” for it hammer out. We see a path forward that applies CASs to a diverse range of topics that have engaged our interest – some we have written about and many not even touched.
This inaugural essay will act as a table of contents to the series much like the one on socialism that we have been developing (Socialism: One of the Two Great Destructive Forces of the Twenty-first Century). The first step is to develop a definition of a CAS that we can begin from. A very cursory look at the literature suggest possibly several essays or chapters leading to a concise and sufficiently abstract representation of what a CAS is that it will have the widespread generality required to encompass our physical world. The notion of energy will have to be abstracted as part of this initial research or a close follow-on. We may then begin to analyze the classes of global problems that are gaining global prominence.