Massively Parallel Globalization

Explorations in Self-Organization and World Politics

By David C. Earnest

Subjects: Political Science, Political Sociology, Economy And Society, Social Movements
Series: SUNY series, James N. Rosenau series in Global Politics
Paperback : 9781438456607, 290 pages, January 2016
Hardcover : 9781438456614, 290 pages, June 2015

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations
1. The Gyre: Rethinking Systems in World Politics
2. Agents and Networks: Complex Social Systems and Theories of World Politics
3. The Advantage of Size: Why Large groups Solve Coordination Problems Better than Small Ones
4. Dividing the Pie: How Complex networks Learn to Solve Distributive Conflicts
5. Cows Grow Trees, Nets Grow Fish: How Social Networks Manage the Commons
6. Too Big to Compromise: Did Eleven Banks Block reform during the Great Recession?
7. Nets of Insecurity: Trade Networks, Cascading Failures, and Economic Vulnerability
8. Conclusions: Self- Organization in World Politics

Explores how individuals and groups adapt to the challenges of globalization.


In this era of globalization, people organize into fluid, adaptive networks to solve complex problems and provide resources that nation-states cannot. Examples include the Grameen Bank, mHealth, and the Ushahidi open source software project. Why do these networks succeed where nation-states fail? Only recently have social scientists developed tools to understand exactly how these complex networks self-organize, emerge, adapt, and solve collective problems. Three of these tools—agent-based modeling, social network analysis, and evolutionary computing—are converging in a field known as computational social science. In this provocative book, David C. Earnest discusses how computational social science helps us understand "massively parallel globalization." Using "explorations" of global systems ranging from fisheries to banking, Earnest illustrates the promise of computer models for explaining the surprises, cascades, and complexity that characterize global politics today. These examples of massively parallel globalization contrast sharply with the hierarchical and inflexible governmental bureaucracies that are poorly suited to solve many of today's transnational and global challenges.

David C. Earnest is Associate Professor of Political Science and International Studies at Old Dominion University. He is the author of Old Nations, New Voters: Nationalism, Transnationalism, and Democracy in the Era of Global Migration, also published by SUNY Press, and the coauthor (with James N. Rosenau, Yale H. Ferguson, and Ole R. Holsti) of On the Cutting Edge of Globalization: An Inquiry into American Elites.