An Analysis of the Potential for the Formation of ‘Nodes of Persisting Complexity’

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Media Type: Article - Foundational

Publication Info: https://doi.org/10.3390/ su13158161

Date of Publication: July 21

Year of Publication: 2021

Publication City: Basel, Switzerland

Publisher: MDPI

Author(s): Nick King, Aled Jones

Journal: Sustainability

Volume: 13, 8161

Pages: 1-32

Categories: , , , , , , , ,

Abstract

Human civilisation has undergone a continuous trajectory of rising sociopolitical complexity since its inception; a trend which has undergone a dramatic recent acceleration. This phenomenon has resulted in increasingly severe perturbation of the Earth System, manifesting recently as global-scale effects such as climate change. These effects create an increased risk of a global ‘de-complexification’ (collapse) event in which complexity could undergo widespread reversal.

‘Nodes of persisting complexity’ are geographical locations which may experience lesser effects from ‘de-complexification’ due to having ‘favourable starting conditions’ that may allow the retention of a degree of complexity. A shortlist of nations (New Zealand, Iceland, the United Kingdom, Australia and Ireland) were identified and qualitatively analysed in detail to ascertain their potential to form ‘nodes of persisting complexity’ (New Zealand is identified as having the greatest potential). The analysis outputs are applied to identify insights for enhancing resilience to ‘de-complexification’.

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