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Panarchy - Paul B Hartzog

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This is an entry in The Future We Deserve - a collaborative book project about the future. See all the entries or talk about this entry.



"What makes political systems cross over the threshold into parameter transformations? Some breakpoints occur when a technological development enables individuals to engage in previously unimagined activities and collectivities to pursue previously inconceivable policy goals… a turning point that occurs when the resources or practices of a system can no longer cope with one more increment of change and its parameters give way under the cumulative load."[1]

In times of great transformation, civilization finds itself in T.S. Eliot's Wasteland.[2] Old rules become increasingly useless and do not result in the same successful outcomes as they did in the past, but a new Kuhnian paradigm has yet to emerge from the chaos of turbulent times.[3] The discovery of a new path lies in the process of recognizing and illuminating patterns in the vectors that are operating in the transforming civilization.[4]

The primary hypothesis that I will endeavor to support is that leveraging the benefits of network organization constitutes a new source of power and a new way of accomplishing global governance. As individuals and groups engage each other globally, the locus of global governance shifts from state-centered activities to distributed networks. The cumulative effect of the shift from hierarchies to networks is a system of overlapping spheres of authority and regimes of collective action called "panarchy."[5]

Complexity + Networks + Connectivity => Panarchy

  1. James N. Rosenau, Turbulence in World Politics : A Theory of Change and Continuity (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1990), p. 83.
  2. T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land ([Monterrey,: Ediciones Sierra Madre, 1960).
  3. Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 3rd ed. (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1996).
  4. It must be noted that many of the following concepts were first articulated and brilliantly handled in Rosenau, Turbulence in World Politics : A Theory of Change and Continuity.
  5. An earlier draft of this paper appeared as Paul B. Hartzog, "21st Century Governance as a Complex Adaptive System," in Proceedings Pista 2004, ed. Jose V. Carrasquero, et al., Informatics and Society (Orlando: International Institute of Informatics and Systemics, 2004).