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Are societies Turing machines? Some implications of the cyclical majority problem, an NP complete problem, for cybernetic models of social systems

  • Don M. M. Booker

Abstract

The paradigms of cybernetic models of social systems are frequently finite automata. Such models, implicitly or explicitly, require a decision procedure for multi-attribute value aggregation. This decision procedure requires either a hierarchical ordering of sub- and supra-systems, or is reduced to the cyclical majority problem. Many well-known applications of cybernetic concepts to the analysis of social systems have been aimed at constructing formal models of society and using these models to examine processes which could be described by finite automata1. The outstanding work of Buckley2, Parsons3 and Etzioni4 in sociology; of Deutsch5 and Easton6 in political science; and of Forrester7, D. H. Meadows, D. L. Meadows, Randers and Behrens8, and Mesarovic and Pestel9 in social systems simulation exemplify this approach. Simulations of political processes in Shaffer10, Pool11, and Klausner12 typify cybernetic models expressed as implicit theory embodied in computer programs (as noted by Browning)13, as well as showing the behavior of the explicit processes which the programs model.

Keywords

Turing Machine Criterion Function Decision Structure American Political Science Review Impossibility Theorem 
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Notes

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Copyright information

© R. F. Geyer and J. van der Zouwen 1978

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  • Don M. M. Booker

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