Uses of systems theory are now to be evaluated in terms of pragmatic norms rather than norms of correspondence or coherence. We therefore should formulate empirical problems to be solved as clearly as possible. Wholeness or totality of a system is determined according to the problems under concern. The present paper, by illustrating two episodes, attempts to show that wholeness of a system is determined only empirically. This means that the determination hinges upon researchers, perception of what is a problem to be solved, which is again not free from their value commitment and philosophy. Furthermore, the determination is not complete without considering possible unintended consequences of social action and a temporal stream of events from the past to the future.
Nowadays, it is said that our societies are too complicated to predict their changes and the occurrences. The difficulty of understanding our societies implies that the theory explaining the social systems should be improved as the societies are more complicated. To comprehend such a complex society, in this paper, I insist on the two points as follows. First, it is impossible to separate the social facts into the contingent and the necessary. Here, the two studies are examined; one is "the garbage can model" (March and Olsen; 1976), and the other is "the sociology of event" (Morin; 1969). Both studies refer to the relations between the contingent and the necessary in the social system, and suggest that the actual social system sustains its order under the influence of the contingent factors. From this point of view, the new theory on social system needs both the necessity and the contingent. Second, the contingency in our society consists of the multiple factors which have nothing to do with each other apparently. This is significant to the new theory on social system, because the complexity of the current society is owing to the complicated connections that we can't see through at a glance. Therefore, to examine the contingent in the social facts makes us comprehend what our social system is.
In this paper I examine the historical development and present situation of social systems theory in the discipline of sociology. Social systems theory, especially that of Parsons and Luhmann, has been developed with the balance of self-referential disciplinary closure and interdisciplinary openness, and oriented to general theory rather than specific model-building or middle-range theory. It deconstructs the traditional problem of the relation of individual and society, and explains the emergent properties of social system on its own level rather than grounding them on the properties of individual agent as system component on the assumption of system hierarchy. It also de-subjectifies the concept of meaning, and defines it as the difference of actualized possibility and potential possibilities of system component. In this way social systems theory can provide various insights into the modern society.
How does the theory of contemporary sociology resolve Hobbes' 'problem of order'? "How can the cooperation come out ot the conflict among utilitarian individuals?" There are two kinds of answer to it. One can be gained by the 'methodological collectivism' which accepts the society's 'emergent property'; while the other by the 'methodological individualism' which doesn't accept it. Social system analysis, especially of 'science of complexity', is the recent representative of the former, and 'rational choice theory' the latter. In this paper I will examine to what extent 'rational choice theory' has succeeded in explaining such 'formation of society' without depending on the concept of 'emergent property.' 'Rational choice theory' regards the question of 'formation of society' as that of 'aggregation', and has proved to be successful in this attempt introducing what game theory has brought about, such as 'Prisoner's dilemma.' Disturbed by the concept of 'emergent property,' the traditional system analyses counld never try such an attempt. This attempt is, therefore, the very contribution that the individualistic method alone could do.
In this paper we recognize agent based approach as a new scientific revolution. In this new scientific revolution there happens common theoretical development of agent base systems in different research areas. We focus on complexity of autonomous agents and its systemic properties such as reinforcement learning, evolution, internal model, self-organization and emergency. In this revolution agent based simulations play an important role in its research paradigm. Complex adaptive system is a typical approach in this area. We also stress on the development of new mathematical and theoretical model of agent base systems which are commonly shared in this area. Systems science played an important role in multi disciplinary science. But the limitation of old types of synthesis such as formulating common structure of existing theories in different research areas is becoming clear. The new age of scientific synthesis has arrived in agent based complex systems. Systems science should give methodological contribution in this new scientific revolution.
Agent-based modeling shows a fruitful approach to understanding self-organizing behavior in complex social systems. The problems on self-organization have been the primary concern of systems theory. Although there have been a lot of researches studying self-organization, we would need some new way to describe a model for emergent properties and learning process. Agent-based modeling can be expected to provide some novel concept and method on learning process in complex social systems. The essential features of agent-based modeling include a learning process of the rules based on which each agent makes a decision for his next action. Genetic algorithm is a powerful tool to implement the learning process in an evolutionary manner. This paper first provides the meaning and role of system models to describe the learning process in self-organization layer. Then the essential difficulties to develop such system models are discussed. The core step in the learning process in agent-based modeling is to produce a new rule set from an old one in the previous learning phase. This correspondence is very hard to describe as some "function" between the rule sets. We should develop more effective mathematical device and concept to build system models of the learning process.
The systems approach or systems theory was introduced into and welcomed by the economics field in the 1960's and 1970's. It is considered to bring a holistic viewpoint into economics and advance the analysis of complex systems such as a national economy or the world economy. More than 30 years have passed since then, and the fever seems to have faded away without making a substantial contribution to economics. This paper questions why the systems approach has contributed so little to the development of economics since the 1970's. One reason lies in the theoretical structure of economics itself. Microeconomics had its systems theory in the form of equilibrium theory and had no need to introduce a new framework from outside of its boundaries. The systems approach could not provide an analytical substitute that was superior to the equilibrium theory. Another reason lies in the lacuna of the systems theory. It has no framework that explains how to deal with individual actions and cannot provide a guide analyzing complex phenomena that results from the interactions of many human agents. The systems approach could provide a map of institutions and functions but could not explain how they work when they are arranged to interact with each other. This inability explains why rational choice theory, in spite of its purely individualistic inclination, is now spreading from economics to sociology and political science. The systems approach should incorporate a behavioral theory and reorganize its framework in such a way that individual choice and behavior regain its proper place in the functional analysis of the whole. This does not mean that we should be subject to methodological individualism. Conventional economics so far has assumed that economic agents are completely rational in the sense that they are capable of solving any maximization problem. In reality, our ability of rational calculation is very limited, and it is now widely accepted that we should not neglect the fact that any decision is made by a person with a limited rationality. Behavior theory should be reorganized from a choice theoretic paradigm to a habitual behavior paradigm. Each individual action can be interpreted as an instance of a patterned behavior that is in turn chosen from a pool of repertoires. An evolutionary viewpoint is suggestive for the ecology of behaviors. The effectiveness of a patterned behavior can be roughly estimated as an average of performance of each pattern. Each individual has its pool of behavior patterns. Some of them may be invented by himself or herself, but most of them are learned from other individuals. A whole process comes out as a result of mutual interaction of individual behaviors, and individual behavior is conditioned by the whole process. In this sense, there is a kind of feedback loop between individual behaviors and the total process, which I call micro-macro-loop. With this understanding in mind, we should come back to the analysis of an economy as a whole. An economy is a huge network of individual actions. If we abandon the maximization principle, traditional mathematical analysis can hardly be applicable. A new analytical tool is required. One of the promising candidates is agent-based-modeling or multi-agent-modeling. In this modeling, each agent's behavior is rather simple but the varieties of behaviors and their interactions give rise to a dynamics of very complicated nature. The process can only be traced by computer calculation. An agent should be complex in such a way that it has an internal model of the outer world. Enforced learning and evolutionary selection can be incorporated by the standard method of genetic algorithms and other methods.
How should the present socio-economic system be changed and be reorganized as a new system in the coming century? This paper is addressed to the examination of some proposed concepts to this question. We first briefly review the experiences concerning the experiments of socio-economic systems in the 20th century and summarize the lessons into the following three: market failure, government failure and 'grand' failure of planning. After some conceptual discussion related to the terms 'social economy' or 'the third sector', three types of socio-economic systems (American-type, 'social economy' -type, and 'social market' -type) are singled out, and their differences, characteristics and limitations are examined, respectively.
The synthesis of various researches on participatory organizations opens a world of new research. The features of this new research are as follows. 1) Participatory organizations such as self-management enterprises, cooperatives, co-determination enterprises, employee ownership enterprises, non-profit organizations, and non-government organizations have the tendency that the values of human nature are much evaluated in those organizations. 2) These values of human nature can be called human values and classified as values belonging to self-realization, management ethics, organization principle, and contribution to society, etc. These human values could be studied systematically. 3) A part of participatory organizations, such as cooperatives has the efficiency problem that has been investigated theoretically and empirically. Now, the efficiency analysis must be adapted to whole participatory organizations, considering human values at the same time. 4) The innovations of participatory organizations are classified into some qualitatively different types.
This article aims at calling on conventional social science and economics to reflect on their past conducts, which have never considered the human itself-the voluntary agent creating a system-in stugying the socio-economic system. I have declared for years that every human being can become an entrepreneur, namely economic agent. If everyone is entitled to capital resources that would support him or her for life, everyone could enjoy economic liberty throughout their lives. Recently, while the science of complex systems has been introduced into economics, there is another radical and innovative idea called 'internal observation' in the science of complex systems. I recently discovered that my idea has almost the same logical structure as 'internal observation.' This idea fundamentally gets over the Cartesian cut such as materials and mind, body and consciousness, and then approves the 'internal observation' of a material itseif: its voluntary and emergent property. This theoretical approach can explain such a 'mystery' as the generation of materials, evoiution of the cosmos, emergence and evolution of the life, and generation of human consciousness, not treating them separately but continuously and unitarily. Once one applies internal observation to social science and economics, it is obvious that he inevitably finds out the dynamical emergent property of the individual human creating the system voluntarily and requires a new academic system that can secure and ensure its voluntary property to the fullest.
The purpose of this study is to discuss the possibilities of a mutual-help system to increase alternative resources and structures which internalizes the elderly not as dependent receivers but as independent providers. This paper is designed to empirically investigate social support and its relations to the well-being of the elderly, which involves perspectives of reciprocity between receiving and providing social support. The data for analysis was obtained through the questionnaire method from 279 senior citizens sixty years or older living in Osaka. Significant findings are as follows: (1) The condition of providing social support is significantly related to the LSIK (Life Satisfaction Index K) as well as the receiving of social support is. Yet this is not simply in proportion to the amount of support, but in accordance to the norm of reciprocity. (2) As a result of multiple classification analysis, the condition of reciprocity on social support, financial satisfaction and health conditions significantly influence the degree of LSIK for the elderly. Based on the above results, the motivation of the elderly to join social support was confirmed. It should be proposed that communities and organizations promote to make programs to accept the elderly as providers of social support in order to build a mutual-help system.