Complexity Economics

Europe, the Eurozone Crisis, Complexity and Systemantics


The laws of systemantics are said to be pseudo-science. Fair enough. A few of these laws are listed below. They apply to highly complex systems. Think of these laws and then think of the EU and of the Euro.


  • Le Chatelier’s Principle: Complex systems tend to oppose their own proper function. As systems grow in complexity, they tend to oppose their stated function.
  • A complex system cannot be “made” to work. It either works or it doesn’t.
  • A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that works.
  • A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over, beginning with a working simple system.
  • The Functional Indeterminacy Theorem (F.I.T.): In complex systems, malfunction and even total non-function may not be detectable for long periods, if ever.
  • The Fundamental Failure-Mode Theorem (F.F.T.): Complex systems usually operate in failure mode.
  • A complex system can fail in an infinite number of ways.
  • The larger the system, the greater the probability of unexpected failure.
  • As systems grow in size, they tend to lose basic functions.
  • Colossal systems foster colossal errors.
The flawed “design” of the EU and its currency is now widely recognized. One wonders how can such a bad design actually go “into production”. However, we ought to recognize a few things:

  • The EU is a super-huge system, no matter how you look at it  (size, population, economy)
  • A system of such proportions has never been conceived before – this is the first time, therefore, there is very little experience
  • The components are extremely heterogeneous – taking this into account is a fantastic problem. Imagine a system of 28 equations with thousands of variables. How can there not be conflicts and constraints?
  • Those who designed the system did not have any system-specific BI technology to assist them
  • Those who designed the system had no means of estimating and managing the resulting complexity – there we no tools to measure and manage complexity in those days
  • When the system was designed and when it went into production nobody had any clue as to its dynamics. Today the same may be said.

Systemantics may not be science – although our QCM confirms many of these laws in a quantitative fashion – as they do sound a bit like extensions of Murphy’s laws. However, just read again the F.I.T and F.F.T laws. Looks like the EU, doesn’t it?



Established originally in 2005 in the USA, Ontonix is a technology company headquartered in Como, Italy. The unusual technology and solutions developed by Ontonix focus on countering what most threatens safety, advanced products, critical infrastructures, or IT network security - the rapid growth of complexity. In 2007 the company received recognition by being selected as Gartner's Cool Vendor. What makes Ontonix different from all those companies and research centers who claim to manage complexity is that we have a complexity metric. This means that we MEASURE complexity. We detect anomalies in complex defense systems without using Machine Learning for one very good reason: our clients don’t have the luxury of multiple examples of failures necessary to teach software to recognize them. We identify anomalies without having seen them before. Sometimes, you must get it right the first and only time!

1 comment on “Europe, the Eurozone Crisis, Complexity and Systemantics

  1. Pingback: On Anomaly Types and Anomaly Detection. | Quantitative Complexity Management

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