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Complex Systems Theory and Development Practice: Understanding Non-linear Realities

By: Samir Rihani

Zed Books

Paperback | Aug 2002 | #133532 | ISBN: 1842770470
Temporarily out of stock: order now to get this when available Details
NHBS Price: £19.99 $26/€23 approx
Hardback | Aug 2002 | #133531 | ISBN: 1842770462
Temporarily out of stock: order now to get this when available Details
NHBS Price: £55.00 $72/€62 approx

About this book

In this text, development studies encounters what is popularly known as "chaos theory" - ideas which in the natural sciences have usurped Newtonian certainties about the simple linearity of physical phenomena, causality and certainty. The author applies this to the processes of economic development ideas like uncertainty, complexity and unpredictability. Ranging over evolving economic thinking, specific country experiences and development issues, the book applies the key concepts developed by complex adaptive systems thinking. He looks at various aspects of the development process and demonstrates the limitations of linear thinking in an essentially non-linear world.

'Complexity theory has serious relevance for the social sciences. This book lays out a blanket challenge. Its critique ought to provoke significant debate' - Professor Barry Munslow, University of Liverpool 'The paradigm shift advocated in this book offers a sound theoretical structure for substantive progress in the field of development' - Hernando de Soto, author of The Mystery of Capital


Acknowledgements A Word of Explanation Foreword - Hernando de Soto, author of The Mystery of Capital 1: The Whole Case in a Nutshell - Two Sides of a Paradox - Locked into an Inappropriate Mindset - Development's Current Paradigm - A Paradigm Shift to Complexity? - Recognition on Nonlinearity within the Sciences - A Vision of Development Based on Complexity - Is a Paradigm Shift to Complexity Feasible? - What Would a Paradigm Shift Mean in Practice? - The Book's Structure 2: A False Sense of Order - Regulated Globalisation? - International Political Economic Ideologies and Theories - Bogus Neatness in an Ideological Maelstrom - Theories at the Mercy of Capricious Events - Course Corrections and Crossovers - Crossover Theories Complete the Circle - In Conclusion 3: Ancient Roots to Modern Ideologies - Whose Dark Ages? - Elites and Hierarchies: an Enduring Model - Modern Ideologies in Ancient Mesopotamia - The Greeks Change Tack - An Islamic Bridge to the Renaissance - Forgotten Civilisations of China - The Story So Far 4: Dawn of the Probabilistic Age - Cocooned in Paradigm - The Hierarchical Structure of Science - Riches Amid Order and Chaos - Local Chaos but Global Stability - Ongoing Cycles of Survival and Adaptation - Information as a Measure of Complexity - Rise and Fall of Complexity - Certain Unpredictability - More Than Politics or Economics - The Fundamental Unit - Cooperation and Competition - To Recapitulate 5: Linear Recipes for a Complex World - Essential Local Variety - Imposed Global Conformity - The United Nations - The World Bank - Shackled in Debt - The `Shameful Condition' of International Aid - International Trade - Supporting Evidence from an Unexpected Source - 6: The Wealth and Poverty of Nations - Human Poverty - A Brief History of Exceptional Wealth - Not by Dollars Alone - An Impossible Gap to Bridge - Income Distribution is not Irrelevant - Inequality by Government Decree - Human Development First - Is Human Development Affordable? - Past Facts and Present Myths 7: Freedom to Interact - Democracy: Too Vague for the Present Purpose - The Fundamental Rights of the Individual - State Repression - 'Apartheid of Gender' - Ethnic and Religious Oppression - No Development Without Basic Freedoms 8: Capability to Interact - Food Security: The Most Fundamental Threat - Global Agricultural Maze - Dependency on Imported Food - More to Malnutrition than Shortage of Food - Malnutrition and Disease Join Forces - Water: The Foundation of Development - Illiteracy Joins the Fray - How Rather Than How Much 9: Conflict and Incapability - The Costly Inclination for People to Fight - Vested Interests - Arms Sales in the Name of Peace - Global Distribution of Conflict - Why Do They Buy and Sell Arms? - Weapons Do Not Reduce Conflict - More Effort to Market Arms and Conflict - A Most Efficient Horseman 10: Agenda for a New Paradigm - Paradigms in Development - A Radically Different Style of Agenda - What Is Development? - Who Drives the Development Process - How to Become a 'Developing Nation' - When Would Development Happen? - Impediments to Entry Into the Development Process - The Agenda: Encouraging Signs - The Agenda for Nations Seeking Development - The Agenda for Leading Powers and World Bodies - Final Words Bibliography

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Dr SAMIR RIHANI has a long and varied career in lecturing, consultancy and public service, both in Britain and overseas. He is a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, a former chief executive of the Merseyside Tourism Board, and currently a non-executive director of Liverpool Women's Hospital NHS Trust. His doctorate in development studies is from the University of Liverpool.

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