OR43 – OPERATIONS RESEARCH SOCIETY CONFERENCEUNIVERSITY OF BATH UK. SEPT 2001
Table 1: Rapidity of the spread and implementation of the Economy of Communion
Domains of Influence By 1990 By 2000
Businesses subscribing to this concept 0 750Countries with EoC businesses / centres / studies 0 100+Reported academic theses and dissertations (completed & in progress) 0 80+National & International conferences 0 30+Prestigious awards etc. by Universities, Governments, international organisations(E.g., UNESCO Peace Prize, Honorary Doctorates, addresses to UNO, Council of Europe.)0 15+
Source: Volumes 1 to 13 of Economia di Communione. Diverse references.
When a social ‘experiment’, less than a decade old, is adopted by hundreds of companies, is publicly praised by national Presidents (Italy, Brazil), is given the floor ininternational Assemblies (Council of Europe, UNO) and is the basis for granting of several Honorary Doctorates (La Salle University, Mexico, 1996 - Philosophy;University of Lublin, 1996 - Social Sciences; National University of Buenos Aires, 1998- 13 Faculties!; Catholic University of Milan, 1999 - Economics), the rapidity of thediffusion of the idea cries out for systemic analysis. Three approaches to addressing thisquestion are applied:
Memetics (Dawkins, 1976; Lynch, 1998).
Knowledge selection (Heylighen, 1997, 1999)
Social economic systems theory (Pluta, 1988)Some key systemic ideas from these three approaches are summarised below and,in the light of these, systemic factors associated with the successful spread of the idea andthe practice of the Economy of Communion are identified. A preliminary model of itskey systemic relationships is presented.
Memetics – the power of an idea
Richard Dawkins, Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at OxfordUniversity, coined this concept in his book ‘The Selfish Gene’ (Dawkins, 1976). InDawkins thesis, “memes” are cognitive or behavioral patterns that tend to make copies of themselves by transmittal from one individual to another, and are therefore “replicators”analogous to genes. As examples, he suggests
“tunes, ideas, catch-phrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches”.
Dawkins proposed the followingthree characteristics for any successful replicators (Dawkins, 1982); Lynch (1998) hasproposed a mathematics for modelling these.
copying-fidelity: the more faithful the copy, the more will remain of the initialpattern after several rounds of copying.
fecundity: the faster the rate of copying, the more the replicator will spread.