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This book introduces and studies a number of stochastic models of subsistence, communication, social evolution and political transition that will allow the reader to grasp the role of uncertainty as a fundamental property of our irreversible world. At the same time, it aims to bring about a more interdisciplinary and quantitative approach across very diverse fields of research in the humanities and social sciences.
Through the examples treated in this work – including anthropology, demography, migration, geopolitics, management, and bioecology, among other things – evidence is gathered to show that volatile environments may change the rules of the evolutionary selection and dynamics of any social system, creating a situation of adaptive uncertainty, in particular, whenever the rate of change of the environment exceeds the rate of adaptation.
Last but not least, it is hoped that this book will contribute to the understanding that inherent randomness can also be a great opportunity – for social systems and individuals alike – to help face the challenge of “survival under uncertainty”.