Online from: 1972
Subject Area: Electrical & Electronic Engineering
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|Title:||The cybernetics of social change – and history|
|Author(s):||Helmut Nechansky, (Nechansky, Vienna, Austria)|
|Citation:||Helmut Nechansky, (2008) "The cybernetics of social change – and history", Kybernetes, Vol. 37 Iss: 2, pp.265 - 281|
|Keywords:||Cybernetics, Decision making, Social change, Systems theory|
|Article type:||Conceptual paper|
|DOI:||10.1108/03684920810851177 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
Purpose – This paper aims to show how basic cybernetics principles of the interaction of two or more goal-oriented systems determine the possibilities of social change – and of history.
Design/methodology/approach – The starting-point is the assumption of a social unit organized in two levels in which leaders and subordinated members share mutual goal-values. As sources for differentiation within this unit diverging individual strivings and questions of leadership (i.e. defining goals, internal and external policy) are identified.
Findings – These sources for differentiation suffice to explain the emergence of individual, political and economic conflicts, as well as the necessary emergence of a multilevel hierarchical organization of society in order to deal with these conflicts. The options of how to deal with these conflicts are analyzed in detail.
Practical implications – To avoid the emergence of a proletariat, i.e. a fraction of a society whose interests are neither represented nor pursued by its leaders, is identified as crucial for the long-term stability of a social unit.
Originality/value – The paper shows how a few cybernetic principles – primarily the cybernetics of decision making and Ashby's law – can explain complex social phenomena. Thus, it shows the applicability of elements of a cybernetic epistemology.
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