Entropy of the (International) System

The System I refer to in my research consists of all humans, the social groupings they form, and their (multitude of) interactions. The international system, as defined by international relations theorists, can be considered an aspect system of the (overall) System.

During the period 1495-1945, the System evolved from a loosely connected collection of circa 300 diverse ‘units’ (groupings, predecessors of states), with a total population of about 83 million in 1495, into a tightly coupled anarchistic system of circa 25 standardised states, with a total population of about 544 million in 1945.

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Source: http://www.space.com

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The ability of the System to reorder – to rebalance – is optimised during critical periods

Humans and social groupings must fulfil a number of basic requirements to ensure their survival. In order to fulfil basic requirements humans and social groupings must compete for scarce resources.

During the period 1495-1945, Europe constituted the (International) System and interactions between humans and social groupings in the System produced a highly optimised self-organised finite-time singularity dynamic that was accompanied by four accelerating war cycles.

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Is the next systemic crisis necessarily a systemic war? (2) The state: where does it come from and how does it affect a next systemic crisis?

During the period 1495-1945, Europe developed from a diverse collection of circa 300 ‘units’ – predecessors of states (city-states, alliances, counties, etc.) – that were sparsely connected (but just enough to develop system behaviour) with a total population of about 83 million, into an anarchistic System (in Europe), of about 25 highly standardised and highly connected states, with a total population of 544 million.

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Europe: Still a collection of diverse ‘units’ with a population of about 83 million.

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Is the next systemic crisis necessarily a systemic war? (1) Introduction

In the coming articles on this blog, I address the question: Is the next systemic crisis necessarily a systemic war? That is ‘war’ as we know it. I argue that it certainly cannot be excluded that the coming crisis may well have a different appearance.

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This photo shows the Allied landings in Normandy, June 1944. It’s mass character – its sheer size, and amount of military capabilities that were deployed – is not necessarily the ‘appearance’ of a next systemic crisis or war.

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Patterns in war dynamics, Part XI. Building blocks for a new theory (8): Prediction

(8) Prediction of war dynamics is possible. This study demonstrates that during the period 1495-1945, the System produced four accelerating war cycles, with each cycle consisting of a relatively stable period that allowed for international orders to be (at least temporarily) effective and a systemic war (critical period) that was instrumental for an upgrade and re-alignment of the System: the implementation of a new international order.

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Figure 13: Schematic representation of the first finite-time singularity dynamic that was accompanied by four accelerating cycles (1495-1945), and caused a ‘collapse’ of the European core of the System (1939-1945). The fourth systemic war (the Second World War, 1939-1945), constituted a phase transition that led to the simultaneous implementation of non-anarchistic structures in Europe and the first international order (the United Nations) at a global scale of the System. Data shows that the (now) global System is producing a fifth cycle, that could well be the first cycle of a second (now global) finite-time singularity dynamic.

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Patterns in war dynamics, Part X. Building blocks for a new theory (7): Two interacting domains

(7) It is possible to distinguish an ‘underlying’ deterministic and a contingent domain in the System that interact through the security dilemma and self-fulfilling prophecies of states.

The patterns that can be identified and the underlying mechanisms that produced them suggest that the dynamics and development of the System are at least partially deterministic in nature.

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Figure 12: This figure shows the ‘constraining’ effects of the deterministic domain during the unfolding of the finite-time singularity dynamic (1495-1945).

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Patterns in war dynamics, Part IX. Building blocks for a new theory (6): Identifying patterns

(6) For several reasons, the war cycles were not identified at an earlier stage.

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Figure 11: This figure shows two domains – a deterministic and contingent domain – that can be distinguished in the System. Both domains interact and synchronize their dynamics through the security dilemma and interacting self-fulfilling prophecies that this mechanism results in.

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