In many complex systems – particularly natural systems manipulated by man – unforeseen feedbacks appear after some time.
Most human interventions in natural systems take place without a satisfactory understanding of the intricacies of the same. There is an implicit belief that some supposedly isolated interaction can be modified without serious side effects. Such a belief is a consequence of the hitherto dominant paradigm of lineal sequential determinism.
Many human made disasters are results from such unforeseen feedbacks (C. FRANÇOIS, 1989). Some examples are acquired resistance of insects and pathogens to insecticides and synthetic drugs, negative results of irrigation schemes, economic measures fuelling inflation, etc…
One of the most dangerous aspects of this problem is that unforeseen consequences emerge only with a time lag, sometimes a very long one. Moreover, they may diffuse in unsuspected ways to many parts of the system. As a consequence, they can be quite difficult to control when they surface, specially when their true nature is still not yet clearly understood.
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To cite this page, please use the following information:
Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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