No assumptions about economic behavior are absolutely true and no theoretical conclusions are valid for all times and places ... M. Blaug.
Impossible to reach: Simple Universal Homogeneity
Human analysis at level of interest which is the engineering of environments, should be properly so hard that only simplification and reduction proceed easily. Usual formalism is commonly seen hard because it requires rigor, but plays according simplified algebra, not as in human nature; and the management of it formal expressions is based on homogeneity and uniqueness of solution. Taken by the rules, it is nevertheless simple, even if most enunciates from mathematicians or logicians make the point to be tricky and troubling. But it is comprehensive, axiomatic, inescapable, and so simply and reproducible. So, this is why you should not be surprised if we call this it simple, this is because if compared to what formalism should be in complex reality. Actually the problem is, even if you hardly understand mathematics and correct logics) is, that it is unrealistic to what it should be; because of the development of much formalism and formal techniques and physical or formal sciences) especially in social applications and the complexities of realities.
Now, observe that specialized experts made that languages of common social management have overdeveloped dogmas because:
- Economics have turned formal arbitrary collections of predictive techniques, joining formal parametrization of data collections including with real material grounds but then mixing abstractions (prices are not just speculative, transformations not grounded only on completely arbitrary processes). So results are logical coincidences or adapt inductions; often theoretically based on extraordinarily simplified misjudgments about averaged human behaviors. So, when analyzing methodological perspectives; in any processed relations or technical dialogues there is dual complex mixtures of terms of administration ( management) on one side and substantial scientific concepts somehow (not always) relevant to the problem and speculated properties on the nature of objects. Similar dual would be functional / structure, technical / pedagogical, reserved / common shared understanding.
- Administration and substantial contains of economics, are both exogenous (given since out) to the system as well as endogenous (from in), but in different ways. So the need to share, between subjects sources and targeted subjects, meanwhile staying sensitive to culture, customs and uses. But for most concepts, either non essential either contextual. There the difficulties to be perfectly understood whatever the place and time ? - always exactly in the same (impossible) way. By side of essential knowledge, meaning that the proper physical understanding of the concepts there, has to be a core of knowledge useful for many situations and not too often missed, made of universal concepts, experiment-able that can fairly useful to many ones.
- This complex dichotomy turns according kinds of users into a system of 4 categories: 1) Core essential scientific concepts useful to any (at minimum for understand the physics of our world, 2) Essential scientific concepts too advanced or too special that may stay in hands of specialists, to balance with first point, 3) Knowledge management, which is non substantial, not really scientific neither commonly usable; and that reiteratively needs to be fairly trusted and observed at the "moment of the purpose". Practicing it takes some sense with culture in common and transparency, fairness, pedagogy but with many possible different ways; not just reduced by incomprehension, intolerance or insistence "as told you as the only reasonable way to make scientific management".
- Finally there is the common shared sense which is often taken for granted and primary to any bureaucrats as the main (and vain) requirement everything taken out of context, making you obey or trust authority. Exactly what made humane progress so slow: pretend to have the truth with oneself and tells how to make it.
Not to mention also the confusion of same or similar words, under different registers of uses. Either because science has simply taken advantage of an existing concept from common language, either and increasingly, because management copying scientific words or methods, for looking like scientific and confusing people. Notice that human-reasoned representations mix generic values, abstractions, and specified facts. In short: the meaning of the dichotomy—substantial and administration—is large and complex. Now with modern management of complex social problem, a major modern mistake - whatever the essential and limited resources - is: either you need all a pool of specialists either you do not care, unsatisfied, not deserving any partial solution before major complications have caught the medias.
Humans simplifies mostly without methods
Reductionism allowed the development of pieces of scientific frames that were, during two first centuries of industrial development, simple enough and useful in their homogeneous and unified applications. Difficulties came from the non intuitive management of symbolic demonstrations and the rigor of operations. Much "superiority" of struggling relationships before and still, consisting in fake extensive verbose demonstrations (when trust lacks) and sort of arbitrary and hard hands (not as invisible as said). So formal reductionism could intent to turn rigorous, homogeneous, simple, with the purpose of uniqueness. Many applied sciences succeeded to developed with, general hypotheses that could be measured and focused by hypothesis for purpose of thesis and/or experimental device where few principles as required to explain the situation making a problem. Other softer disciplines have varied their use of formal methods according more of less rigid conventional paradigms and have developed, looking like scientific; either by the adoption of formal methods either by the purification of one sort of logic, abstract definitions, enunciates like tautologies, axioms and deductions made theorems with poor real consistency.
Many of these other disciplines like complex sciences of real proximity (biology, ecology) are now very complicated by the ambitious purpose of determinist but also safe and cautious management. Most, if not all of social sciences, according schools, have favored theories and struggling for influence. Having last ones, been based on core assumptions hard to believe (empirical data deductively explained) and non observing the conditions of application of formal methods they use to clear the "melting pot of complex phenomena". To look like scientific they used same simple their algebra valid only in homogeneous and extreme purified physics concepts. And they dictate their truth with low degree of consistency, when not misleading wiser common sense management. And when deficits or gaps between subjects and objects of analysis (as we call representations of subjects that can be living or not), are humbly recognized they nevertheless include plenty of free interpretations and adverse effects are ignored or not assumed responsibly.
Complexities should be cared, they are with heterogeneity, diversities and paradoxes
Complexity cannot be just defined clearly. On complexity, definitions exist, more as criteria and processes. Many will hardly have proper and as expected realistic effects. Actually to conceive complexities, contradictions and/or paradoxes are essential. Surprises have revealed unexpectedly or expressed so that the distance to look over is not homogeneously regular but some patterns may exist. No one can be methodologically perfect and you can never know for sure if you did a good approach if have not carried for much time and really concern most of the processes. Sometimes because of times' limits, or because of constraints of fundamental properties of indetermination, you have no time to clear things well. But reality and effective care of complexity are more substantial than that, and often harder to resolve than what political of executive or cartesian determinism think with the best available 'information" at hands. Much determinism, when the World is restructuring with so much inhumane flexibility, allowing also some virtual mechanisms and much stiffness opposed to people; turning sustainable development parodies of short shows.
"Is complexity simply the latest in a long line of highly mathematical “theories of almost everything” that have gripped the imaginations of scientists in this century ?".
Standardization is to expect for many technological devices, but not for most social issues or social activities. The inflation of stereotypes overgeneralized by modern communication implies bias of informations and much loss of social diversities. As typical adverse effects, that make societies more sensitive to common negative traits of globalization: drug consumption, violence, frustration. Few diseases have met extraordinary reservoirs of amplification. Models of passive and weird democracies have been generalized and are weakening many mechanisms that previously done well in genuine cultures, as well as not always badly with complexities of issues.
Also artificial constructions can be technologically very complicated, meanwhile social simplifications too hard to bear. And this may be why in first generation of globalization, from many reductions have emerged so many critical worldwide problems; magnified by tautological shortcuts, paradigmatic ideologies and alienating determinisms. They have not been compensated. Moreover, disconnections have been observed despite that worldwide social conditions of globalization were promoting more humanistic ways of adjustments than before.
As citizens, you have to consider that, even if you are not at ease with complexities of scientific formalism, at least you should not miss some intuitive understanding of essential concepts and ideas out the rhetoric on complex philosophical definitions (which are not so new). May be an easy way to those intuitive concepts are the graphics or visuals or the way you look at schemes and manage them as frame. Taking possession of useful pictures of heavy images can help to weigh formulation.
Simplification Methods should not ignored or be uncareful neither too generalized
Humans constantly practice simplifications, cuts and approximations. Unconsciously for many, they switch from qualifications to quantifications with much flexibility but erratically; because of norms and procedures as well as at purpose. In our experience, not just with in their interest but also because having an intuitive good common sense of the limits of imposed rationalisms and wise critic of politically correct experts. Common people have often matters consistent to them, they are far from making reductions and simplifications all equally and exactly in the same homogeneous way and not as experts for pretending to facilitate reproducible operations.
Most cognitive processes are not as incoherent as imagined, often looking like arbitrary routines, made inconsistent in new explorations and policies by social paradigms full of stereotypes, prejudgment or misjudgments. Formal conditions in proper applications of methods have cautions that stay unsatisfied when not conveniently ignored. Add to that many clearing, specializations divided assignations and any works, tasks, divisions, processes and procedures so as to fix, constraint and isolate social issues. Complexities' care should support democratic comprehensive processes and make them stay not far from solutions at human distance range: not too difficult to reach, neither too simply absurd, away from modest uses.
Simplification and confusion exist at the elementary level (of individual units) and probably the resulting social algebra is not globally simple; it is by no means comprehensive when too sophisticated by the insane purity of functional methods. Much formalism is about material objects. Simplifications and reductions can be useful, if properly or humanely managed in a social comprehensive environment democratically conducted. And this is where the first steps of revolution of information have not been very successful, more servicing burocracy rather than consistency. Human-made disasters are not disappearing. Humanity’s problems have increased especially by side of the right ways to question rather than to solve issues.
Making things properly simple requires understanding of complex processes. May be not by disqualifying too much of the efforts made for clearing ideas but yes sharing better essences of philosophy. Difficulties of good democratic management depend on the ability of the managers not to truncate complexity in a temperamental way; since the design even of "simple policies" have to recruit many complicated contributions. That means not having goals detailed too strongly, especially from upside and downward and give enough support to all good but rigorous initiatives that can serve well democratic social complexities. This implies hard work, cooperations, facilitation and equilibrates positive collateral effects. At the same time sort of leading managers must be skilful in summarizing and at suggesting directions or perspectives, concision and economies.