Economics and General Systems

  • Kenneth E. Boulding
Part of the International Federation for Systems Research International Series on Systems Science and Engineering book series (IFSR, volume 7)


In my own recollections the Society for General Systems Research, as it later came to be called, originated in a conversation around the lunch table at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Palo Alto, California, in the fall of 1954. The four men sitting around the table who became the founding fathers of the Society were Ludwig von Bertalanffy, Anatol Rapoport, Ralph Gerard, and myself—a biologist, an applied mathematician and philosopher, a physiologist, and an economist. Economics, therefore, can certainly claim to have been in at the beginning of that enterprise, although this may have been largely an accident of my own personal interests. Certainly one cannot claim that the interaction between general systems and economics has been very extensive since that date, though the contributions of each to the other may be more than many people recognize. In the intervening years, however, the social sciences in general systems have been represented more by sociologists, such as Buckley,1 and psychologists, such as the late Kenneth Berrien.2 Almost the only other economist I can think of who has played much of a role in the development of general systems is Alfred Kuhn,3 whose interest, like my own, has been primarily in going beyond economics to developing an integrated social science.


General System Preference Function General System Theory Walrasian Equilibrium Dynamic Path 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

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  • Kenneth E. Boulding

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