Sociocybernetics pp 105-127 | Cite as

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

## 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 automata^{1}. The outstanding work of Buckley^{2}, Parsons^{3} and Etzioni^{4} in sociology; of Deutsch^{5} and Easton^{6} in political science; and of Forrester^{7}, D. H. Meadows, D. L. Meadows, Randers and Behrens^{8}, and Mesarovic and Pestel^{9} in social systems simulation exemplify this approach. Simulations of political processes in Shaffer^{10}, Pool^{11}, and Klausner^{12} 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.

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### Notes

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