Complex Systems Theory and Development Practice: Understanding Non-linear Realities

Front Cover
Zed Books, 2002 - 280 pages
Real paradigm shifts are rare phenomena, and professionals are rightly cautious about claims in this regard. This thoughtful book, however, advocates just such a shift in the development field, and advances a reasoned case in its support. Its author hopes to open the door to a rather different way of looking at historical processes of development. Dr Rihani, an engineer with long experience of development, takes as his starting point the undoubted paradigm shift which is taking hold in the natural sciences. He argues that the emerging science of complexity can also illuminate the flawed nature of customary assumptions about causality, certainty and universality in the way nations develop.Ranging over a wide terrain of social, political and economic thinking and specific country experiences, the author explains the key concepts in complex systems theory and their possible applications in development practice. He examines various development issues and institutions in the light of what he sees as the limitations of rigid linear thinking in an essentially fluid, non-linear world. Little wonder, he concludes, that the results of half a century of development effort have been so disappointing.If development thinkers take up this book's invitation to apply the new thinking to the processes which they seek to understand and manage, Dr Rihani's work will have made an exceptional contribution to the theory and practice of development.
 

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Contents

ONE THE WHOLE CASE IN A NUTSHELL
1
TWO A FALSE SENSE OF ORDER
18
THREE ANCIENT ROOTS TO MODERN IDEOLOGIES
46
FOUR DAWN OF THE PROBABILISTIC AGE
65
FIVE LINEAR RECIPES FOR A COMPLEX WORLD
108
SIX THE WEALTH AND POVERTY OF NATIONS
141
SEVEN FREEDOM TO INTERACT
164
The Most Fundamental Threat
187
The Costly Inclination for People to Fight
214
Arms Sales in the Name of Peace
220
Weapons Do Not Reduce Conflict
226
Paradigms in Development
233
When Would Development Happen?
239
Encouraging Signs
246
The Agenda for Leading Powers and World Bodies
257
EIGHT CAPABILITY TO INTERACT
273

Dependency on Imported Food
196
Illiteracy Joins the Fray
206

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About the author (2002)

Dr Samir Rihani is a senior research fellow, at the School of Politics and Communication Studies, University of Liverpool. He is a member of the Institute of Civil Engineers and of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. His long and varied career both in Britain and abroad has included lecturing, consultancy and public service. He is currently a Non-Executive Director of Liverpool Women's Hospital NHS Trust.

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