Cross-border impacts of cannabis legalization in Canada

With cannabis legalized in Canada today (Oct. 17), can we compare socio-political aspects to the U.S. Prohibition laws 1920-1933?  Daniel Francis, a historian in BC, was reviewed.

For Canada, America’s federal Prohibition law, in effect from 1920 to 1933, was a miraculous economic benefit. Canadians were free to manufacture and export liquor. The American customers who took possession of it in their own waters or on their own soil assumed all the risk. Big-money people weren’t the only Canadians cashing in, for the little guy prospered as well. A case of whisky bought in Quebec for $15 could be sold in New York State for $120. “There wasn’t any job in Canada that paid that much for so little work,” Francis writes.

“Prohibition in U.S. led to exciting times in Canada (review of Closing Time by Daniel Francis)”  | Marcel Martel | January 2, 2015 | Vancouver Sun at http://www.vancouversun.com/Prohibition+exciting+times+Canada/10697267/story.html

Closing Time: Prohibition, Rum-runners and Border Wars | Daniel Francis | 2014 at https://danielfrancis.ca/books/closing-time

Closing Time, Daniel Francis

 

Connectivity and complex systems: learning from a multi-disciplinary perspective | Turnbull, Hutt, Ioannides et. al | 2018

Understanding complex systems from different disciplines, writes @Ecohydrology et al., requires appreciating the standpoints of …

  • (i) defining the fundamental unit for the study of connectivity;
  • (ii) separating structural connectivity from functional connectivity;
  • (iii) understanding emergent behaviour; and
  • (iv) measuring connectivity.

Here’s a table (detailed text removed from the original article) that compares disciplinary approaches.

Table 1:
Summary of connectivity challenges across different disciplines. Extent to which connectivity challenges are an issue:

    • * do not present a challenge;
    • ** presents a challenge but progress has been made;
    • *** presents a major challenge.

.

Fundamental Unit (FU)

Separating Structural Connectivity (SC) and Functional Connectivity (FC)

Understanding Emergent Behaviour

Measuring Connectivity

Systems Biology

**

**

**

**

Neuroscience

*

**

**

**

Computational Neuroscience

*

**

*

*

Geomorphology

***

***

***

**

Ecology

**

**

**

**

Social Network Science

*

***

***

***

Recognizing Structural Connectivity (SC) as different from (but not exclusive from) Functional Connectivity (FC) is a big start.

Fig. 1 Network-based representation of structural and functional connectivity

Fig. 1 Network-based representation of structural and functional connectivity. Illustration of ways in which structural and functional connectivity within a multitude of systems can be conceptualised using a network-based approach across Systems Biology, Neuroscience/Computational Neuroscience, Geomorphology, Ecology, and Social Network Science

References

  • Connectivity and complex systems: learning from a multi-disciplinary perspective | Laura Turnbull, Marc-Thorsten Hütt, Andreas A. Ioannides, Stuart Kininmonth, Ronald Poeppl, Klement Tockner, Louise J. Bracken, Saskia Keesstra, Lichan Liu, Rens Masselink and Anthony J. Parsons | Applied Network Science | 2018, 3:11 https://doi.org/10.1007/s41109-018-0067-2

#complex-systems, #connectivity, #multi-disciplinary

Google Plus (for consumers) shutdown | Oct. 8, 2018

The shutting down of one online venue for #systemsthinking on Google+ is inconvenient, yet a possibility that we have forseen.  In headlines, see:

The Systems Sciences community on Google+ at https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/117647110273892799778 is still working, on the day after the announcement.

Gabriel Asata asked:

Any idea about how to maintain ourselves in contact and keep the production and publication of this community after Google+ shutdown?

… to which I responded …

The Systems Sciences community on Google+ should acknowledge that an open community for systems thinkers worldwide has been provided at no charge by Google, as a commercial enterprise, for many years.

In partnership with Benjamin Taylor, our community has been prepared for the possibility that Google+ might not persistent in a supporting such a platform. In January 2018, we partnered on the Systems Community of Inquiry stream at https://stream.syscoi.com/2018/01/19/moving-to-stream-syscoi-com/ . This is an open collaboration site hosted on WordPress.COM that could be moved to an alternate provider, and is backed up on the Internet Archive (you can check at https://web.archive.org/web/*/http://stream.syscoi.com ).

If you prefer to just receive headlines, stream.syscoi.com syndicates to https://twitter.com/syscoi .

If you don’t like Twitter, and would like to experiment on an open source platform with a gradient of intimacy (i.e. like Google Circles), you might follow me (as an individual) at https://mastodon.cloud/@daviding . If a critical mass of individuals sign up on that platform, perhaps we can encourage that open source platform to flourish.  (I’m also on Diaspora at https://diasp.org/u/daviding , but haven’t seen much action there in the past 3 years).

This is part of a longer story, at ..

Since the original explorations in 2015, we can now see “The Federation refers to a global social network composed of nodes that talk to each other. Each of them is an installation of software which supports one of the federated social web protocols” at https://the-federation.info/ .  Here’s a snapshot of popularity at October 2018.

The Federation, Projects

Mastodon (which didn’t exist in 2015, as did Diaspora) now appears to have been growing in popularity.

#diaspora, #federated, #google-plus, #mastodon, #shutdown, #social-network

Systems practice – unpacking the juggler metaphor | OpenLearn

From the Open University, excerpted from a free course on “Managing Complexity: A Systems Approach”:

Many well-known systems thinkers had particular experiences, which led them to devote their lives to their particular forms of systems practice. So, within Systems thinking and practice, just as in juggling, there are different traditions, which are perpetuated through lineages (see Figure 7).

A model of different influences that have shaped contemporary systems approaches

Figure 7: A model of different influences that have shaped contemporary systems approaches

The OpenLearn course was surfaced on reading “The Role of Systems Thinking in the Practice of Implementing Sustainable Development Goals” | Martin Reynolds, Christine Blackmore, Ray Ison, Rupesh Shah, Elaine Wedlock | 2017 | Handbook of Sustainability Science and Research at http://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-63007-6_42 .

Praxis support for implementing sustainable development goals (SDGs) based on systems thinking in practice at The Open University.

Praxis support for implementing sustainable development goals (SDGs) based on systems thinking in practice at The Open University. Source Reynolds et al. (2017). © 2017 The Open University

A complementary presentation was made by Martin Reynolds at the World Symposium on Sustainability Science and Research, Manchester, UK, April 5-7, 2007.
World Symposium on Sustainability Science and Research

Martin Reynolds is in the Applied Systems Thinking in Practice group in the School of Engineering and Innovation, at The Open University.

There are a variety courses when searching on “Systems Thinking” in OpenLearn.

 

#mooc, #open-university, #systems-thinking

Reflections on the paradigm of Ecological Economics for Environmental Management | Maurício Fuks | 2012

A concise history of ecological economics via Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen and Kenneth E. Boulding laying down foundations in the systems sciences, and their influence on Herman Daly and Robert Costanza.

Georgescu-Roegen (1971) pointed out that, according to the first law of thermodynamics we can neither create nor destroy matter or energy (Principle of Conservation of Matter and Energy) and consequently asked: What, then, does the economic process do? The answer is: it absorbs, qualitatively transforms low entropy and releases it outside the economic system in the form of high entropy.3 That is, the economic system is a subsystem of the finite global ecosystem, on which it depends to both extract low entropy and, when using it, release it in the form of high entropy (Ayres, Nair, 1984, Constanza et al 1997).

Figure 1 - Matter and energy flows through the economic system

This entropic perspective of the economic process is the opposite of the mechanistic view addopted by standard economic theory. Unlike the Newtonian worldview – in which a system is time reversible, remaining identical -, the second law of entropy indicates an irreversible and unidirectional qualitative change: The amount of bound (or unavailable) energy in a closed system increases continuously. To decrease the entropy of a system, we need to obtain energy from outside the system, which means increasing the global entropic deficit.

Living organisms are no exception to the second law of thermodynamics, since they survive by absorbing low entropy from the environment to offset the increase in entropy to which they are subject. Thus, although living organisms temporarily avoid dissipation, they increase the entropy of the system as a whole, i.e., of the environment in which they exist. In other words, the presence of life speeds up the entropic process (Georgescu-Roegen, 1971, 1993).

[….]

Kenneth Boulding, another thinker of huge influence in Ecological Economics was also adamant about the need for changing the economic behavior of humanity.5

  • Although Georgescu-Roegen and Boulding disagreed about the concept of entropy, the congruence between the works of these two thinkers is evident. The sharpest disagreement lies in that Boulding advocates the possibility of a closed system for matter without its dissipation and powered by solar energy. This difference makes Boulding’s view (potentially) less tragic than Georgescu-Roegen’s (see Cechin & Eli da Veiga, 2010; Cleveland, 1999; and Fuks, 1992, 1994).

“Reflections on the paradigm of Ecological Economics for Environmental Management” | Maurício Fuks | Estudos Avançados | vol.26 no.74 São Paulo 2012 at http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0103-40142012000100008 , CC-BY-NC at http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S0103-40142012000100008&script=sci_arttext&tlng=en

 

#ecological-economics, #kenneth-boulding, #nicholas-georgescu-roegen

Open Systems Thinking, Online Discussion, Governance

Should an open (public) online discussion group espousing systems thinking be governed through (i) an open (public) group, or (ii) a private (closed or secret) discussion group?

This is a question being debated on Facebook, about the “The Ecology of Systems Thinking” public group, with the “Systems Thinking Network Leadership Group” (closed group, proposed to becoming open), and the “EcoST Admin ADG” (secret group, which has reset to “closed”, i.e. the members are visible, but the content is not).

On August 30, I was invited into the EcoST Admin ADG, and posted:

I am signing into this group to say that I will not participate in a group that is designated as secret.

Since I have spent 3 full years writing a book called Open Innovation Learning, it would be hypocritical for me to participate in an online community that doesn’t believe in open systems thinking.

Some offline private communications ensued.  On August 31, I responded to on a personal channel:

… if the official position of that Facebook group is that’s going to be “a private working space”, then I won’t participate. However, if I was feeling sufficiently mischievous, I would then create a public link to that group, saying how open systems thinking isn’t being practiced, and ask why.

On a question about online discussion group administrator-moderators “making mistakes”, I wrote:

If we are seriously designing a system that “learns”, errors (a rephrasing of [C…’s] mistakes) are an opportunity for group learning. This is covered in the Map of Ignorance, from the University of Arizona. http://coevolving.com/blogs/index.php/archive/the-meta-design-of-dialogues-as-inquiring-systems/

The behaviour of thanking someone for pointing out an error takes some getting used to. It’s at the foundation of Ontological Design, as encouraged by Fernando Flores. https://www.strategy-business.com/article/09406

<< some messages by others are omitted >>

My understanding is that a lot of people are intimidated by meeting Fernando Flores, because he will take you at your word. I had the fortunate opportunity to schedule an appointment to speak to him directly (in his home!) and I found him rather straightforward.

<< a message by someone is omitted >>

So, to follow though on the Flores thread, communicating via social media (as well a verbally, where he does a large amount of coaching) is a SKILL that individuals should learn and improve upon. That being said, talking into a mirror (i.e. a closed system) will only allow a limited amount of learning.

As those private comments were (with my concurrence) reshared onto the EcoST Admin ADG on August 31.  Responses to the thread led me to write a long response:

On the premise of setting the EcoSt Admin ADG as secret or private Facebook group: What systems school, research of philosophy are you basing this decision? I will argue for open systems thinking (and open systems theory), and can easily draw on whole community of systems luminaries to support my position.

From a systemic perspective, the issue should be discussed as a whole. To fit within the post limits of Facebook, this issue will be broken up into this opening, five points, and a closing.

(1) An open systems approach allows boundary critique, as described by Werner Ulrich at http://wulrich.com/boundary_critique.html .

The quest for systemic thinking cannot alter the fact that all our claims remain ‘partial’ (Ulrich 1983), in the double sense of being selective with respect to relevant facts and norms and of benefiting some parties more than others. This is what boundary critique (Ulrich 1996, 2000, 2017) is all about; it aims at disclosing this inevitable partiality.

Having a Facebook administrators group as a closed system doesn’t “identify the sources of selectivity”; doesn’t “question these boundary judgements with respect to their practical and ethical implications to surface options”; and doesn’t include the ability to “challenge unqualified claims to knowledge or rationality by compelling argumentation”.

(2) An open systems approach embraces dissenting perspectives, as described by Gerald Midgley, “The Sacred and Profane in Critical Systems Thinking” | 1991 | Systems Practice at
https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01060044 , cached at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/226199755_The_Sacred_and_Profane_in_Critical_Systems_Thinking

Fuenmayor uses a metaphor of light and dark to describe this process of drawing boundaries. He asks us to remain aware that throwing light upon a system casts its ‘otherness’ into darkness. Through such an awareness we are able to retain the possibility of changing the boundaries of critique. In other words, awareness of ‘otherness’ is an effective remedy for ‘hardening of the boundaries’.

Any electronic forum that is a closed system doesn’t permit throwing light on how the boundaries are set.

(3) An open systems approach embraces fluid management (rather than solid aspects of management), as described by David Hawk | “System Cracks are Where the Light Gets In: Models and Measures of Services in the Benefit of Context” | 2001 | Proceedings of the 45th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the System Sciences, cached at http://systemicbusiness.org/pubs/2001_ISSS_45th_068_Hawk_Parhankangas_System_Cracks_Light.html

Cracks point a systems forces that were not being reconciled within the limits of the system. “Crackage” may also be a sign of systems reaching their limits. […] Such cracks can be seen as early indicators of larger problems looming for organizations.

A closed system doesn’t respond to environment, and thus doesn’t see signals of the system reaching its limits.

(4) An open systems approach embraces “unbounded systems thinking” as “the fifth way of knowing”, as described by Ian Mitroff | The Unbounded Mind | 1995 (scholarly excerpt at http://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195102888.003.0006 . This was originally described as a Singerian inquiring system by C. West Churchman. Here’s a quick summary by James F. Courtney, David T. Croasdell and David B. Paradice | “Inquiring Organizations” | 1998 at https://www.bauer.uh.edu/parks/fis/inqorg.htm#s2

The Singerian Inquirer
> Two basic premises guide Singerian inquiry (Churchman, 1971, pp. 189-191). The first premise establishes a system of measures that specify steps to be followed in resolving disagreements among members of a community. Measures can be transformed and compared where appropriate. The measure of performance is the degree to which differences among group member’s opinions can be resolved by the measuring system. A key feature of the measuring system is its ability to replicate its results to ensure consistency.
> The second principle guiding Singerian inquiry is the strategy of agreement (p. 199). Disagreement may occur for various reasons, including the different training and background of observers and inadequate explanatory models. When models fail to explain a phenomenon, new variables and laws are “swept in” to provide guidance and overcome inconsistencies. Yet, disagreement is encouraged in Singerian inquiry. It is through disagreement that world views come to be improved. Complacency is avoided by continuously challenging system knowledge.
> Singerian inquiry provides the capability to choose among a system of measures to create insight and build knowledge. A simplistic optimism drives the community toward continuous improvement of measures. However, the generation of knowledge can move the community away from reality and towards its own form of illusion if not carefully monitored.

An open systems approach with the fifth way of knowing allows new knowledge to be swept into the dialogue. Taking a poll is based on the second way of knowing, an analytic-deductive inquiring system.

(5) An open systems approach is a premise for Open Innovation Learning, where open sourcing WHILE private sourcing is recognized. The open access book at http://openinnovationlearning.com/online/ is based on 7 case studies of IBM between 2001-2011.

The label of open sourcing frames ongoing ways that organizations and individuals conduct themselves with others through continually sharing artifacts and practices of mutual benefit. The label of private sourcing frames the contrasting and more traditional ways that business organizations and allied partners develop and keep artifacts and practices to themselves. Many customers external to a private sourcing organization are uninterested in internal details about the whys and wherefores about how an offering comes about. Some constituents external to an organization prefer the transparency in open sourcing, both in self interests and mutual interests. [p. 5]

Those interested in an example a concrete struggle to maintain the spirit of open sourcing can refer to Appendix A.7.4 (c) “Open sourcing: Office Open XML approved as ECMA-376 on Dec. 7 2006” telling the story about Microsoft influencing industry standards organizations to endorse OOXML, and IBM threatening to exit those organizations as a result.

In this sense, I may be labelled a heretic. David Hawk writes “a heretic was one who raises questions about an entity’s most closely held beliefs. A heretic initiates institutional renewal by firming up its strengths while destabilizing its dogmas. In this way a heretic strengthens an entity”. See https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326399730_CHANGE_FROM_WITHIN_GUNNAR_AS_THE_LOYAL_HERETIC

I explicitly license the whole of these comments (i.e. the opening, 5 points and close) as Creative Commons CC-BY-ND David Ing 2018, which allows them to be reposted in whole by anyone, anywhere, as long as they are attributed to me. If you want to respond, your copyright will be preserved, but you might want to refer to “Do I Own My Photos and Posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram?” | Mihir Patkar | October 2017 at https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/own-photos-facebook-twitter/

The original formation of the Systems Thinking Network Leadership group on Facebook was based on the reformation of Systems Thinking World on LinkedIn, in October-November 2015.  The ideal (but technologically immature) direction would have been to move towards a federated social web.  Benjamin Taylor had moved to the model.report platform (based on lobste.rs, now archived at https://syscoi.com/model.report/model.report/recent.html ) before moving to stream.syscoi.com in January 2018.

On September 1, Benjamin Taylor wrote on the EcoST Admin ADG:

I have a preference for what i believe David is advocating – everything should be *accessible* unless it really needs to be private. And we should keep the private to a minimum.

The purpose of this apart from the open systems principles is to allow genuine accountability – i.e. at a practical minimum, the different perspectives and arguments behind moderation decisions should be made visible.

IIRC, at the time a small group of people saved the LinkedIn group (which I had a part ownership of) and the Facebook group from [G…’s] destruction (plus the @systemsthinking twitter, which [P…] still has custody of, given we were never able to resolve what to do with it), I proposed (or supported) very open moderation, which is why I added many admin-types to the LI group, and created (or supported) the systems thinking network leadership group https://www.facebook.com/groups/1698754760335916/ as an open forum for whoever was interested to weigh in and help make decisions on any governance or emergent issues from *both* the LI and the facebook group. I stand by that decision, and would suggest that we rename that as the more humble ‘moderation’ group, agree some decision rules, and try to work there.

This led Benjamin to a Facebook poll in the EcoST Admin ADG with a description:

I’m proposing:
1- close down this group and reconvene in the STN moderation group
2- I will make clear to everyone there the intention for it to be a platform for moderators to hold governance discussions and allow 72 hours for responses or complaints (to be debated there), then:
3- I will change the group status to open
4- I will delete every non-governance-related post currently in that group
and then:
5-any mega-decisions for either group be by vote of all members in the relevant groups (STN moderation a platform for open discussions only)
6-all moderation decisions discussed in STN moderation open group, then finalised by small group of moderators using the rules we are currently agreeing in the google doc)
7-delegate authority to all moderators to do a bunch of day-to-day stuff (as being agreed in the google doc)
8-escalation route from individual moderator – STN moderation discussion and moderator decision – all member vote if needed (to be agree in the google doc)
The results of this vote not to be binding on what we agree in the google doc – items 6-8 as they relate to the google doc be advisory in that context.

I support this position, and would be active in reforming the Systems Thinking Network Leadership (closed) group on Facebook into the Systems Thinking Network Moderation (public) group.

This is not the end of the story.  It’s a partial report of activities in an online community.

The Ecology of Systems Thinking group on Facebook

#facebook, #governance, #online-communities, #open-systems-thinking, #systems-thinking

The Power of Profit in Ecology | Timothy F.H. Allen | 2017 | TEDxMadison

Ecologists can learn from economists, says Timothy F.H. Allen, paying attention to return on effort.  This video is a refined presentation of ideas based in hierarchy theory and the collapse of complex societies, jointly researched with Joseph Tainter and published in Supply-Side Sustainability.

High Gain, Timothy F.H. Allen

[3:40] This is a resource that gives you a lot of gain for minimal effort. We call them high gain. High gain systems are wasteful. They’re local because they sit on the hot spot of the resource. They’re ephemeral because the hot spot doesn’t last very long. And they’re dynamical. You can describe them in terms of the dynamics of the situation. [….]

[04:18] … whereas tomatoes are all tomatoes all the way, basil consists of leaves — which you want — and these stalks and stems and flowers and things that you don’t. So we have to approach basil quite differently. We have to treat it as a low quality resource.

Low Gain, Timothy F.H. Allen

[04:40] It’s low gain. That is to say, you put in a lot of effort. You tend to be prudent. The resource is consumed in a dispersed way. The resource tends to be long lasting and structural.

[04:57] And so that in this way, basil is reduced down, processed, increased in quality, until we just have
the leaves. [….]

[05:30] I have a good colleague, Joe Tainter. He’s written a wonderful book in 1988 called The Collapse of Complex Societies. And his basic premise is that societies are problem-solving units, and they solve problems by complexifying. In the beginning you don’t get a lot of benefit for complexification. Then you get a lot. But in the end, there’s a diminishing return on effort. So over time, we consume a resource. It collapses. It becomes too expensive. We then indulge in some sort of a substitution.

Complexity, complicatedness: Timothy F.H. Allen

[06:07] Notice though that the cost over time keeps on going up. Relative complicatedness is a different manner. Notice the way that we get more and more complicated and difficult to deal with, but but then all of a sudden, you change your strategy.

[11:30] Remarkably enough, hardly any systems go prudent [in their consumption]. […] As long as there is a high gain resource in the vicinity, they will use it. All systems do that. All systems are wasteful. [….]

[12:15] We never look after our resources. Once you’ve gotten to this prudent use, then, all of a sudden, instead of living in your food, you move out to get the food and bring it back again.

Here’s an abstract from a similar talk from Allen, on “Introducing the Concept of Profit Across Ecology“, given in 2016 at the U. of Georgia.

Ecologists often speak of resource use, but not of profit. Return on effort is neglected. Ecologists are so doom and gloom because their systems are seen as going round a cycle from establishment to demise as resources run out. Sometimes they lead to death and extinction, but economists know better that resources do not run out; usually they just get more expensive in the next pass around the cycle. There are successive cycles of increasing efficiency. Some cycles are predictable from rate-dependent energy gradients (high gain), and whole other systems are predicted from rate-independent constraints on those flows (low gain). We have examples from ants, termites, birds, the Roman Empire and prevailing global ecology.

References

The Power of Profit in Ecology | Timothy F.H. Allen | 2017 | TEDxMadison at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhVlJDH3pTE

“Confronting economic profit with hierarchy theory: The concept of gain in ecology” | Timothy F. H. Allen, Peter C. Allen, Amy Malek, John Flynn, Michael Flynn | 2009 | Systems Research and Behavioral Science at https://doi.org/10.1002/sres.998

“Insights into Service Coming from Biology” | Timothy F. H. Allen | ISSS 2012 San Jose at http://isss.org/world/sanjose-2012-retrospective#plenary-allen

“Insights into the Relationship Between Products and Services Coming from Biology” | Timothy F. Allen,  Duncan Shaw,  Peter C. Allen, James Spohrer | 2013 | Systems Research and Behavioral Science at https://doi.org/10.1002/sres.2216

#ecology, #economics