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Diagnosing the Health of the Global Political System

Dr. William deB. Mills

Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Sage 3510 - 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Refreshments at 3:30 p.m.


Today, we have no rigorous, scientifically grounded methodology for evaluating the health of the global political system. We desperately need a diagnostic science for determining the state, direction, and rate of change of the global political system. Such a scientific field might usefully:

  1. Identify abstract criteria for cross-system comparison.
  2. Operationalize them so that they apply specifically to the global political system.
  3. Define diagnostic methods.
  4. Identify underlying dynamics.
  5. Evaluate the functioning of global politics as a complex system to determine how system-level behavior emerges out of the interaction of the system's parts.

In this presentation, we will address points (1) - (3) applied to the international political systems centered around the Roman and Chinese empires, with additional examples from the contemporary Algeria. We will then briefly point the way towards item 4.

Our objective is the development of a framework for systems analysis supported by a set of research methods for diagnosing the health of our political world--methods that now need to be subjected to rigorous testing.


Dr. William deB. Mills, political scientist and methodologist, has spent his career working for various departments of the Federal Government as scientist/methodologist (building tools for political analysts), political analyst (Chinese foreign policy), and Chinese linguist. He has published several Prolog programs evaluating international affairs (e.g., a nearest neighbor matching tool for comparing systems and an expert system for evaluating Sino-Soviet negotiations) and about 20 academic articles on research methodology and Sino-Soviet relations.

Hosted by: Mark Goldberg (x2609)

Last updated: September 15, 2005