Proceedings of the 53rd Annual Meeting of the ISSS - 2009, Brisbane, Australia, Proceedings of the 53rd Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences

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Guohua Bai


The ongoing economic crisis world around has asked for a theoretical understanding and deep analysis of what have been wrong in our economic system in specific and social system as whole. Discussions in many forums and mass media have mostly focused on a level of first order casual-effects such as bank and credit system in relation to house loans and car industries, and where and how much the stimulating packages should be distributed, etc. This is what I called a liveability level problem. A second order understanding of fundamental systems structure and social subsystems relationships however, have not been much addressed properly. This is what I called the sustainability problem.
This paper will propose an epistemological model based on cybernetic feedback principle and the Activity Theory to interpret the second order problems that deeply embed in our social-economic system structure. So the liveability and sustainability are coherently discussed within a socio-cybernetic system.
The first part of the paper introduces shortly principles of feedbacks from cybernetics, especially understanding the behaviours of positive and negative feedbacks. Then, the Activity Theory and related concepts from social autopoietic theory are introduced. The aim of introducing those concepts is to provide the basic elements/components to the construction of a double-loops feedback model in the second part. In the last, the current economic crisis is interpreted based on the constructed model, to verify the usability of the proposed model.

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