Handbook of Research on Complexity
Show Less

Handbook of Research on Complexity

Edited by J. Barkley Rosser Jr.

Complexity research draws on complexity in various disciplines. This Handbook provides a comprehensive and current overview of applications of complexity theory in economics. The 15 chapters, written by leading figures in the field, cover such broad topic areas as conceptual issues, microeconomic market dynamics, aggregation and macroeconomics issues, econophysics and financial markets, international economic dynamics, evolutionary and ecological–environmental economics, and broader historical perspectives on economic complexity.
Buy Book in Print
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 14: Complex Dynamics in Ecological-Economic Systems

J. Barkley Rosser


14. Complex dynamics in ecologic-economic systems J. Barkley Rosser, Jr. A Public Domain, once a velvet carpet of rich buffalo-grass and grama, now an illimitable waste of rattlesnake-bush and tumbleweed, too impoverished to be accepted as a gift by the states within which it lies. Why? Because the ecology of the Southwest happened to be set on a hair trigger. (Aldo Leopold, 1933, “The Conservation Ethic,” Journal of Forestry, 31(6), 636–7) 14.1 Introduction and definitions The question of what constitutes complex dynamics is multi-faceted and complicated, with a variety of definitions being offered. For purposes of this discussion we shall focus on the dynamic definition of complexity provided by Day (1994) and discussed in connection with alternatives by Rosser (1999, Chapter 3 this volume). This definition posits that systems are dynamically complex if they fail to converge to either a point, a limit cycle, or an exponential expansion or contraction due to endogenous causes. The system generates irregular dynamic patterns of some sort, either sudden discontinuities, aperiodic chaotic dynamics subject to sensitive dependence on initial conditions, multi-stability of basins of attraction, or other such irregular patterns. Combined ecologic-economic systems seem to be especially prone to such dynamics, with the resulting problems arising from these becoming serious problems for policy-makers (Rosser, 2001). In this chapter we shall focus on the complex dynamics of fisheries, forests, the global climatic-economic system, and hierarchical systems. Without doubt, prior to the appearance of human beings, ecological systems experienced discontinuities in their dynamic paths,...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information

or login to access all content.