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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.
Climate change is one of the most important challenges of the 21st Century. As greenhouse gas concentration of the atmosphere has reached the
400ppm threshold of a 2°C global warming on 9 May 2013 and irreversible
tipping points of the climatic system at some point of time have got even more likely, the question of the individual contribution
to climate change becomes more and more virulent. For a long time, the absorption
capacity of the environment has been regarded as limitless, and based on this
perception, the economic entities used the environment for hundreds of years
without constraints. Today, with progress of scientific knowledge, we are now
aware of the possible negative impacts of climate change to environmental,
economic and social systems on Earth. This awareness, however, did not lead to
a significant change of individual behavior, because the perceived individual
contribution to both the anthropogenic cause of climate change and its
mitigation is still regarded as marginal. To encounter this misperception or “diffusion
of environmental responsibility”, this article presents an alternative
calculation of the individual contribution to climate change taking the incremental
approach to a tipping point or a 2°C global warming threshold into account.
The current article will focus
on the fundamental idea of synergetics. It addresses the question of how to
explain self-organization in a complex system. For this purpose synergetic will
be explained with the use of the classic physical example, the laser light.
Although the synergetic theory was developed in the field of physics, it is an
interdisciplinary approach enabling the general examination of
self-organization of complex systems, especially in economic contexts. The
so-called swarm intelligence contributes as a bright example from another
context. Furthermore, exemplifying for economic application a simple national
economy will be interpreted from the synergetic perspective. From an economic
perspective, finally the conclusion includes a critical reflection of the
Although Diaconia/Caritas and Protestant/Roman Katholic Churches are large service providers in Germany, they often feel economic thinking as a burden or even a nuisance. It is regarded as something “not authentic” in the aid and assistance to the poor, miserable and needy as successors in the love of Jesus Christ. But economic thinking has to be seen as careful handling of the entrusted goods and is justified in the sense of belief in creation and the “Two Natures Doctrine” of Christ. It must be regarded as an important expression of all the earthly. On the other hand an exclusively economic profit-oriented attitude easily can turn in greed and avarice. And that makes it blind not only for the responsibility to one’s neighbor and but also for essential risks. Therefore many companies went to develop their own “corporate culture”, in which should be deployed the ethical principles of the companies. However in the companies of the Diaconia it is not necessary to develop new ethical principals because diaconal work should be founded in a “culture of charity” of Christianity that creates engaged employees.