Certain general principles of regulation and control are developed and substantiated by means of evidence from a variety of fields. First, success in regulation is a function of several variables including adaptability, use of heuristic devices, system structure and characteristics of its constituent parts. Second, both internal specialization of a system and the variety of its dependencies on the environment are important. However, while the variety is important only in the short‐run, system structure is important both in the short‐run and the long‐run. Third, according to the contemporary cybernetic paradigm, a self‐regulatory system must be an open system. This is concluded to be a myth. The theory is developed and illustrated.
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