HOLISTIC SUSTAINABILITY: Competition, Cooperation, Adaptation – Institute of Complex Holism

Kolkata, India (August 13, 2015) Sustainability and its various social derivatives have been exer­cising the minds and capabilities of political scientists, practising politicians, social scientists and eco­nomists, struggling to find an ad­equate response to the ongoing troubled times. Systemic crises such as the current socio-economic-en­vironmental upheaval threatening to engulf humanity and its very ex­istence, call for serious introspec­tion by all sections of society: of the common man, scientist, entre­preneur and law-maker. Without an adequate scientific awareness of holistic-sustainability to promote, advance and inspire sustainable development – understood as “a process of change in which the ex­ploitation of resources, the direc­tion of investments, the orientation of technological development, and institutional change are all in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations” – among scientists, academics and the mainstream, the ongoing crisis is un­likely to be satisfactorily ad­dressed.

In the candid appraisal of Christine Lagarde, Managing Director IMF, “In the past, economists have underestimated the importance of inequality. They have focused on economic growth, on the size of the pie rather than its distribution. Today, we are more keenly aware of the damage done by in­equality. Put simply, a severely skewed income distribution harms the pace and sustainability of  growth over the longer term. It leads to an economy of exclusion, and a wasteland of discarded poten­tial.” Without the scientific foundation of nonlinear self-organising emergence, sustainability is un­likely to emerge from the ideological haze imposed by politicians, bureaucrats, and entrepreneurs, into mainstream quantit­ative science. Today, the Gini coefficient – a common measure of income in­equality of 0 when everybody has equal in­come and 1 when all goes to a single person – with an aver­age of 0.315 in OECD countries, exceeding 0.4 in the United States and approaching 0.5 in Chile and Mexico, is far too untenable for cosmetic niceties. The Work­ing Report Understanding Sus­tainability. Bio-Eco­nomic, Entropic-Exergic, Self-Organizing Emer­gence of Life is an unorthodox dia­gnostic en­deavour of distribution of the pie as a necessary comple­ment of its size, with the additional potential of stimu­lating a much-needed solu­tion. Failure to adapt cooperative en­tropic distribution to competit­ive ex­ergic growth inevitably leads to the tragedy of ma­lignant-boom provoking heat-bust death.

ICH solicits and invites active participation from scientists, entrepreneurs and individuals troubled and dis­tressed at the current breakdown of human relations and social etiquette by a “more is better” portfo­lio of limitless desires and wants leading, according to some, onto post-humanism. ICH looks forward to fulfilling its mandate by responding to questions, comments, expressions of interest, collaborative proposals and re­quests for compliment­ary copies of Understanding made to the ICH press contact below:

Press Contact for ICH:

Professor Ashok Sengupta,

Founder-Director, Institute for Complex Holism Kolkata

Telephone: 91-33-25915729, E-Mail: osegu@iitk.ac.in.

About ICH:

The Institute for Complex Holism Kolkata is designed as an international hub of re­search on complexity-holism-sustainability. This “world-class residential research centre mandated to critical in­quiry in the foundation of Competition-Cooperation-Adaptation and Sustainab­ility” seeks to adopt holistic sustainability – a third variant beyond the weak and strong types – as the paradigm gov­erning environment-society-economy complex in which limit cycles and periodic points, born of its natural adversarial give-and-take dynamics, permit a richer homeostasis than the traditional non-de­clining so­cial welfare/utility criterion; (holistic) sustainability “is the art of healthy, enduring liv­ing from the past into the future, choreographed by competition-cooperation-adaptation of the self-organ­izing, emergent present”.