Integrating Economic Gain in Biosocial Systems
Systems Research and Behavioral Science
The concept of gain and profit is introduced into ecology as a way of summarizing strategies of biological and social structures. High gain systems can be predicted by flux as they take in fuel at a rate. Low gain systems must refine low-quality materials in order to acquire fuel. Low gain systems are predictable from their plans and coded behaviour. Changes from high to low gain mode and vice versa represent a reordering of a hierarchy over time. We use a catastrophe pleat as a way to model high gain collapse. Collapse is avoided in low gain by planning. At first, planning enlarges the system through economies of scale, but eventually resources are of such low quality that gathering and refining begins to limit size. We also model shifts from high to low gain with a response surface of resource used against adaptation. There are peaks of high and low gain adaptation with which we analyse termite evolution. Positioning systems on the surface is complicated by valid alternative interpretations of system behaviour. Each low gain phase starts with a burst of high gain so it is possible to reinterpret successive moves to the lower gain as fractal shifts that link successive response surfaces. We propose mathematical protocols for capturing the response surfaces.
Allen, T. F. H., J. A. Tainter, J. Flynn, R. Steller, E. Blenner, M. Pease, and K. Nielsen. Integrating Economic Gain in Biosocial Systems. Systems Research and Behavioral Science 27: 537-552.