lunedì 10 novembre 2008

The Freezed Society and the Complex Network Theory

Reading some posts in many blogs, I have noticed a sense of frustration for the widespread apathy and cynism around us investing all the levels of our society from politicians to our neighbour. Often we in Italy feel hopeless above all if looking at the positive experiences made abroad such as in the case of the American Presidential Election. In Italy "change" is an extremely difficult process and who tries to trigger a process of transformation, even if a small scale or local one in a small country village, has to cope with enormous difficulties and obstacles. Of course I don't want to state that a change process is always a right option and opposing to it is a wrong behaviour; what I want to say is that often, even at local level, in Italy also the necessary debate at the base of an exchange of ideas to activate a democratic process of change is a difficult task. In my everyday experience I see a lot of proposals abandoned, marginalized innovators, frustrated talents, etc. just because considered an expression of "daring" rather than after an analysis of their inner value. This fact regularly happens in universities, any work place, schools, politics, small local administrations, etc. What I see is a perverse combination between an incapability to change (due to adverse selection, difficulties in decision making process, incapability to consider the benefits from change) and unwillingness to change (cynism, ossified interests, ruotines, fear to change). Environmental degradation, corruption, speculations, erosion of public goods and public ethics, irrational choices made for the advantage of few elites, etc.) are the price we pay when a rigid system triggers its immune system. How resolve this problem?
The main question is how interrupt the replication of the self reinforcing cultural patterns at the base of these behaviours, mainly propagated by TV culture, at the base also of the processes of political choices.
I think that the main problem of our freezed society is its Small World (SW) behaviour. Who has studied the complex systems' theories surely will link this concept to its main features: shortest paths among agents, high clustering degree, the presence of hubs and power laws, etc. SWs change their status very slowly for the reduced number of links with external agents. Italian society works like a small country village where conformism hampers any change. We can find SW dynamics within universities or politics where any decision process has necessarily to pass through well defined path and well determined-well connected hubs.
Further reflections on the dynamics of these kind of networks may provide useful contributions in the attempt to properly understand many aspects of our society and, possibly, to identify some possible solutions towards a change of status. Any suggestion is thus welcome...

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