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This article is an introduction to
complexity theory, which will be discussed using the example of economic
science. In this context, a short historical overview is intended to
demonstrate why the traditional mechanistic worldview persistently remains a
part of economic science and how it led to the development of the theory of
complex systems, which, for example, can be subsumed under chaos theory.
Furthermore, a simple supply and demand model is employed as an example to
discuss this new theory and to describe the characteristics of complexity in
comparison with the general mechanistic principle. For this purpose, specially
designed software is used for the simulation and analysis of selected complex
As economic phenomena become increasingly
complex, the demands on models to reflect this complexity also increase.
Economic growth, for example, which depends on a variety of factors, is such a
complex phenomenon. Especially the relevance of human capital development for
modern service societies is a significant growth factor. This is, however, considered
only in few discussions. In order to represent such complex phenomena, adequate models are needed that go beyond linear approaches. This
paper points out that models from the dynamic system theories are well suited
to illustrate human capital as a factor of economic growth.