Review: Generative Social Science: Studies in Agent-Based Computational Modeling (Princeton Studies in Complexity)

5 Star, Complexity & Catastrophe, Decision-Making & Decision-Support, Priorities, Survival & Sustainment, Technology (Bio-Mimicry, Clean)

GenerativeInstead of Can You Explain It, Can You Build It?, May 31, 2008

Joshua M. Epstein

Sometimes I encounter books that are extremely important, that give me an appreciation for a knowledge domain I do not know enough about, and that I simply cannot read and review in the traditional sense. However, having invested good money and time in the book, if I admire I book, I generally seek to use my broad reading as a base for putting the book in an appreciative context with useful links for other readers.

This book, and Complex Adaptive Systems: An Introduction to Computational Models of Social Life (Princeton Studies in Complexity) are two such books. This one starts with:

“instead of explaining it, can you grow it?”

Howard Bloom, in Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century teaches us that the only way to create a sustainable peace in the Palestine region is to provide absolute security for an entire generation, and raise two whole generations, one on each side, from kindergarten on us, generations that do not consider “the other” to be “pigs and monkeys” by the age of five.

Similarly, the literature on wealth of networks and the fortune at the bottom of the pyramid is growing, and I am convinced that public intelligence (decision support, full disclosure, end of information asymmetries) is going to accomplish two things in the next twenty years:

1) Eradicate corruption and enforce the triple-bottom line

2) Elevate five billion poor by teaching them one cell call at a time so that they can create infinite stabilizing wealth.

See for example:
Infinite Wealth: A New World of Collaboration and Abundance in the Knowledge Era
The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom
Revolutionary Wealth: How it will be created and how it will change our lives
The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits (Wharton School Publishing Paperbacks)

So the very best thing I can say about this book is that I am glad I bought it, I am very glad to have a sense, however weak, of this important exploratory area, and now I know that I need a team of generative social scientists that can do complex modeling for peace and prosperity solutions.

See also, just published at Amazon and free online at Earth Intelligence Network, Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace

I urge one and all to become familiar with World Index of Social and Environmental Responsibility (WISER), as best I can tell that is the center of gravity for empowering individuals with deep knowledge of the true costs and many human rights abuses and other crimes that we support today for lack of knowledge. I also recommend the pioneering EarthGame work of Medard Gabel, at BigPictureSmallWorld.

Eventually I see the USA Waging Peace, with a Multinational Decision Support Center providing unclassified intelligence to all actors on the world stage, and publishing an annual and constantly updated Global Range of Gifts Table to connect the billion rich with the five billion poor at the $1-$100 level.

In commenting on this book, I am primarily seeking to point readers toward other books on the substance of peace and prosperity and our many ills. If you are technically inclined, this is a very top work that also inspires the lay reader who “does not do math.”