Liquidity and complex systems theory

From Naked Capitalism: … idity.html
Comments from a NC reader:

The reader who had posted as anon now has a handle: ThatLeftTurnInABQ and elaborates the theory based on some of the comments of other readers. Particularly interesting to me are these bits:


**yoganmahew wrote:

I have posted comments about this in this thread … 2&start=30

Complexity theory has been around for quite a while but as we develop ever faster super computers the type of questions we are able to ask about complex systems become ever more sophisticated.
The results are showing that complex systems can be very vulnerable and the whole system can collapse with frightening speed and their collapse can sometimes be inevitable.
Civilisation is a complex system and now that we are becoming ever more globalised these vulnerabilities will very soon come to the fore and so it could be argued that the collapse of our civilisation could also be inevitable.

A decent enough layman’s piece (from New Scientist - the king of layman’s pieces!) on the history of Complexity Theory wrt society, and what it could mean for everyone:

(MODS or anyone, does it matter if I link the full article thereby giving everyone full access to a subscriber site, or is that site dependent?)

Yeah, it’s been around since the 1960s on airline systems and large banking systems (although it didn’t have a name). Transaction processing is littered with unintended interaction traps.

Sabre run a booking system that has over 18,000 transactions a second at peak usage (my figures may be a little out of date!). It’s split into 16 or so complexes loosely coupled together, but tied to a single database. A resource depletion problem will crash one of those complexes before you can see it. It can spill over to all the others and they will go down like ninepins. Doesn’t happen very often, but the US carriers all tend to have ticket sales at the same time and peak load goes through the roof (think Northern Rock!).