Review of Behavioral Economics > Vol 2 > Issue 1-2

Dynamics of Socio-Economic Systems: Attractors, Rationality and Meaning

Andrzej Nowak, Institute for Social Studies, University of Warsaw, Poland and Florida Atlantic University, USA, Jorgen Andersen, CNRS, Centre d’Economie de la Sorbonne, University of Paris 1, France, Wojciech Borkowski, University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Warsaw, Poland,
Suggested Citation
Andrzej Nowak, Jorgen Andersen and Wojciech Borkowski (2015), "Dynamics of Socio-Economic Systems: Attractors, Rationality and Meaning", Review of Behavioral Economics: Vol. 2: No. 1-2, pp 167-173.

Published: 29 Jul 2015
© 2015 A. Nowak, J. Andersen, and W. Borkowski

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Direct and Indirect Interactions


Gintis and Helbing go beyond traditional boundaries of scientific disciplines and propose integration of major theories from the main disciplines of the social as well as natural sciences. The theory captures well many insights from social psychology. Several assumptions of the model, however, may be questioned. The assumption that social systems are at equilibrium is too narrow, because social systems may also be out of equilibrium. The notion of attractor dynamics shows that systems may converge on different types of attractors depending on the value of control parameters. The notion of rationality of human behavior may be challenged on the basis of new data from psychology, decision science and behavioral economics. Often individuals do not process the information, but rather copy the choices of others. Individuals interact by both direct and indirect means – though market mechanisms. Most importantly, social dynamics, in contrast to physical systems, is governed by meaning. Despite these limitations the theory of Gintis and Helbing represents an important step in the integration of the social sciences.