Entropy and self-organization—an open system approach to the origins of homeland security threats
Dobson, Thomas Kirwan
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This thesis addresses the problem that there is no coherent, unifying paradigm for understanding the origins of homeland security threats. In addition, the thesis asks if the concept of disorder as understood in the dynamics of open, dissipative systems can provide a way of understanding real-world homeland security threats. Ideas from approaches to complex systems based on the idea of dissipative systems were synthesized to create a scalable model of a living social system that imports and exports disorder (entropy) via the transfer of matter, energy, and information. Then, the idea of a dissipative system that exports disorder to its surroundings as it self-organizes was meta-theoretically applied to the processes of self-organization occurring in the world, such as technological advance, population growth, economic growth, and globalization, and can be causally linked to real-world homeland security threats. One conclusion is that, on a descriptive level, the causes of homeland security threats can be modeled as a complex, dissipative system. Another conclusion is that causes of homeland security threats and the means to counter them often lie in complex social, economic, and environmental processes that are well outside the jurisdiction of Department of Homeland Security and the homeland security enterprise, meaning that we should reconsider our approach to homeland security.
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