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Toward a better understanding of social systems

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1 Author(s)
Henize, J. ; Massachussetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.

In general outline, this paper 1)summarizes a number of what are currently thought to be our most important national problems and policy issues; 2) explains why attempts to deal with such problems in the past have often met with failure; 3) outlines in general terms what it is we must do differently if we are to have any hope of explaining and dealing more adequately with such problems; and 4) discusses the importance and the role of models in the understanding of behavior and the design of social systems. Then, many of the previous points with an example of a simple policy model are illustrated, and attempt to show that it indeed is possible to model social problems in a way that achieves useful results. The paper concludes with a few philosophical comments on the role of models in the explanation of social behavior and the design of better social systems.

Published in:

Proceedings of the IEEE  (Volume:63 ,  Issue: 3 )