To conceptualize a new approach to economic development that fully embraces its fractal complexity, providing a basis for sustained socioeconomic welfare within cultures that encourage collaborative democracy and social learning.
Following the premise that healthy development must follow the natural laws of growth that apply to all ecosystems, the paper examines fractal intricacy as the basis of economic systems that are able to sustain sufficient flows of energy and information to all sub‐systems. Two methodological approaches that emerge for planning are called hierarchical (fractal) coherence and fractal connectivity. The first refers to sufficient density and variety of nodes (firms, economic processes, customers, etc.) at all scales in the hierarchy of an economic system; and the second denotes multiple paths of connection between the nodes, to handle the necessary flows.
This approach highlights the fundamental importance of locally‐based entrepreneurship and democratic control, and also suggests new methods for measuring system interconnectedness at all scales, supplementing economic growth measures such as GDP.
The paper indicates the need for empirical research to calibrate and further refine the approach in real‐world settings.
The paper outlines a fresh planning strategy for dealing with the geometrically worsening dimensions of uneven economic development and poverty, at all levels of scale from the local to the global.
The paper articulates a viable cybernetic alternative to prevailing economic development approaches that are based on the neo‐classical, neo‐liberal, and neo‐conservative models embodied in our present system of economic globalization.
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