This chapter examines why markets and economies behave as they do from a sociological perspective. Sociology is the study of how people function in society, with the ultimate hope of understanding group behavior. When we stop to consider that all the participants in a market constitute a group, it is obvious that until we understand group behavior, we can never fully understand how markets and economies work. All of the areas of social science—sociology, political science, economics, and the several subdisciplines within each—are, in one sense, only different platforms from which to think about one large question: how human beings form themselves into groups, or societies, and how those groups behave. This chapter analyzes social systems by focusing on a large number of complex adaptive systems across a wide variety of fields in both the natural and the social sciences. It also discusses complexity theory as well as the concepts of self-organization and emergent behavior as they apply to finance and investing.
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